|Tom Key, Technical Executive, EPRI and Terry Peterson, Ph.D., Solar Power Consultant|
This White Paper addresses the history, status, and trends of flat-plate solar photovoltaic power technologies in both crystalline silicon and thin-film forms. Perspectives are provided on the cost and performance, as well as, the materials used for producing PV modules. The major milestones and trends in PV power system development are described, looking back to the 1970's, and forward to the next 30 years. Current incentives and policies are also discussed with focus on utility engagement in PV power. Recent trends suggest that power companies will have a significant role in both distributed and utility scale applications. This raises the question "Is the electric industry ready?" The White Paper suggests some key evaluation parameters and a strategy check list for utilities. References to related EPRI research and a number of other useful documents are provided.