National Center for Photovoltaics

The National Center for Photovoltaics (NCPV) at NREL focuses on technology innovations that drive industry growth in U.S. photovoltaic manufacturing. The NCPV includes capabilities in PV research, development, deployment, and outreach.

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Research Cell and Champion Module Efficiency Records

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Download the latest charts on record cell and module efficiencies.

To help the U.S. photovoltaic industry maintain a competitive position, the U.S. Department of Energy created the NCPV in 1996 to serve as a focal point for developing technology and disseminating information about photovoltaics in the United States. 

The NCPV's long-term goal is for PV modules and systems to reach higher efficiencies with improved reliability while lowering costs. Key objectives are to:

  • Communicate information
    The NCPV is intended as the focal point for PV information, education, and outreach.

  • Provide vision 
    The NCPV strategically guides, directs, and coordinates PV activities to ensure the best use of national laboratory and partner research capabilities.

  • Seek opportunities 
    The NCPV facilitates strategic partnerships and alliances with domestic and international stakeholders to overcome market and institutional barriers.

The NCPV is built on the facilities and expert staff at the national laboratories, leveraging additional resources at universities, industry, and other federal programs.

Featured Journal Articles

In an April 2023 Science article, PV researchers determined that a sustainable global growth in PV of 25% per year over the next decade is prerequisite for achieving a climate-neutral global energy system by 2050. See Photovoltaics at Multi-Terawatt Scale: Waiting Is Not an Option on the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems website. 

The contribution from PV to global electricity is growing rapidly, and newly installed capacity for electricity generation in recent years has been dominated by growth in solar and wind. In September 2021, the IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics published Global Progress Toward Renewable Electricity: Tracking the Role of Solar, which tracks this rate of growth and assembles up-to-date data from different sources. 

NREL partnered with members of the Global Alliance of Solar Energy Research Institutes to consider the potential of terawatt-scale photovoltaics to transform the global energy system and the associated opportunities and challenges. See the resulting May 2019 Science article, Terawatt-Scale Photovoltaics: Transform Global Energy.

Also, see the April 2017 Science article, Terawatt-Scale Photovoltaics: Trajectories and Challenges, from an earlier workshop that considered trajectories and challenges for terawatt-scale PV.


Nancy Haegel is director of the NCPV. Learn more by contacting the NCPV.