The Terawatt Workshop

Global gathering addresses PV role in energy prosperity and climate change mitigation and announces transition to a new stage that will carry PV to the terawatt range

 The Global Alliance for Solar Energy Research Institutes (GA-SERI) convened a worldwide gathering of experts from Germany, Japan, the USA and beyond to discuss the future of photovoltaics (PV). With annual global PV installations reaching 60 GW in 2015, approaching global production capacity, 50 participants gathered in Freiburg Germany for the initial GA-SERI Terawatt Workshop. Representatives from research institutes, industry and funding and financial organizations discussed the contributions of photovoltaics (PV) to energy security, prosperity and climate change mitigation and announced the transition to a new stage that will carry PV to the terawatt scale.

 In view of drastically reduced PV costs, cumulative global installations in excess of 3 TW are anticipated by 2030, continuing current R&D and investment paths. PV cost projections make this technology increasingly attractive for low cost domestic electricity supply. To provide a major contribution to global climate goals, total installations on the order of 20 TW will be needed by 2040. This will require continued investment in worldwide R&D to reduce production costs, increase efficiency and improve reliability.

 An increasingly flexible electricity grid, increased availability of low-cost energy storage and demand side management will also play key roles in enabling accelerated PV deployment. In addition to providing a significant fraction of world electricity, PV has the potential to provide low cost energy for mobility and heating market demands.

 Following two days of spirited discussion in the Historical Merchants Hall in Freiburg’s old city, the group reached a consensus that a fully integrated research program among institutes, universities and industry, spanning both near and long term needs can address challenges to scale manufacturing and deployment to the levels required.

 The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy (Germany), the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan), and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (USA) are the member institutes of GA-SERI. GA-SERI was founded in 2012.