The PV industry may have achieved a historic milestone on July 12 as industry leaders gave technology roadmap efforts--loosely based on the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS)--near-unanimous support. At a workshop organized by SEMI PV Group and the US Department of Energy (DOE) on the Sunday before Intersolar North America, workshop participants explored the history of the ITRS and how it could be applied to the PV industry. Over 130 people attended the packed session which included breakout sessions on critical roadmap areas such as factory integration, materials and substrates, and sustainability.
A critical portion of the workshop was devoted to current technology roadmap efforts in Japan and Europe and how they might relate to US and international efforts. Dr. Winfried Hoffman, president of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), gave an overview of the Photovoltaic Technology Platform established by the European Commission to bring together industry stakeholders, explore synergies and communicate needs to governments. This effort is "focused on accelerating market volumes, not accelerated R&D," and consequently is addressing the removal of technical administrative and institutional barriers to rapid PV deployment. "The role of R&D development is needed, but not to drive the price experience curve."
Japan's PV Technology Roadmap was also discussed through a presentation by Dr. Fukuo Aratani, RTS Corporation, who provided an overview of the "Accelerated and Extended Japan PV Roadmap 2030+" supported by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a semi-governmental organization, and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). This effort has provided substantial direction to Japan's R&D efforts in PV for over 30 years. This roadmap plan was recently updated and extended to 2050 and includes short term deployment projects, mid-term projects focused on high performance technologies, and system technologies, including on-grid and off-grid energy management systems.
Chris Case, chairman of the ITRS technical committee, Terry Francis, Chief Technologist for Matheson Tri-Gas, and Chris Constantine, director of new technologies at Oerlikon Solar all gave presentations on the challenges and methodologies of the ITRS process, in relation to its applicability to PV. All were positive about the ITRS model for the PV industry.