I just returned from the Photovoltaic Specialists’ Conference in Seattle; it was the 50th year anniversary of the conference. The first PVSC that I attended was in 1987 when Charles Chamberlin and I reported on PV module tests in Humboldt County.
What a difference! The conference is now huge, with thousands of attendees, and the PV industry is mature and sophisticated. Total worldwide installations of PVs have now reached 40 GW and as one speaker reported, if PV growth stays on the historical path that it has maintained for the last 30 years, total installed PVs will reach 1000 GW by 2020. At that level, PVs will contribute about 10-15% of the world’s total electricity generation. That’s amazing and heartening progress.
This time we reported on the 20-year performance of the PV array at the Schatz Solar Hydrogen Project at our marine lab in Trinidad. In 1990, Jim Zoellick measured the performance of each of our 192 modules for his senior project. In 2001, Nate Coleman and Antonio Reis remeasured them and reported the results at the 2002 PVSC. Last year, Mark Rocheleau and Marc Marshall repeated the measurements again so we now have a careful 20-year record. Our results, analyzed by Charles, were received enthusiastically. One attendee from PV manufacturer First Solar emailed me that our report was “very detailed, thorough and information/data packed.” He went on to say, “I am working on PV cell/module long term reliability/ degradation issues. That is why your talk was so interesting to me.” It’s rewarding to have gathered information so useful to the industry.
After an exceedingly rainy spring, summer has finally arrived on the North Coast. Best wishes to all for a sunny and relaxing summer.