The following are key drivers for future reductions in PV electricity costs: decreasing cell costs while maintaining or increasing efficiency (based on lower specific material consumption, more efficient production schemes and new cell concepts); increasing module lifespan; reducing specific module costs through higher cell efficiencies and more advanced encapsulation techniques; and reducing specific balance-of-system costs through higher module efficiencies and improved electronics.
RD&D focused on the long term is of high importance for PV. In order to bring new cells and modules to production, new manufacturing techniques and large investments are needed. Such developments typically require 5-10 years to move from laboratory research to industrial production. Over the next decade, thin film technologies are expected to display their potential for cost reduction and improved performance. RD&D allows new cell technologies to evolve, but is also necessary to the process of acquiring the manufacturing experience to make the technologies commercial. Since PV cell manufacturing requires large investments, market and manufacturing volume is very important.
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