Accelerating CdTe solar panel adoption can make U.S. solar more secure

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By founder Aaron Bates toledo solar

Even before the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 strengthened and extended financial incentives for solar panels, giving an additional investment tax credit of 10% for fully American-manufactured panels (40% of the total ITC). At the time, consumer demand for solar power was soaring in the United States. Globally.

Installation of solar panels 40% YoY increase, adding 5.3 GW of residential solar power to the grid. In many cases, demand has outstripped supply as rising energy prices, the realities of climate change, and supply chain disruptions have combined to make it especially difficult for people to obtain and install solar panels.

On the other hand, the cost of rooftop solar pricing is 60% decrease over last 10 yearsbut many homeowners have yet to set a price, with initial costs estimated at $15,000 to $25,000 to purchase and install a new solar system.

In other words, as solar power becomes more prevalent and important for green energy production, it faces two challenges that hinder its adoption. It’s affordability and availability. As supply chain challenges and geopolitical uncertainties strain international production capacity, national solutions are desperately needed.

of Cadmium Telluride Accelerator Consortium A group of research teams, universities and companies (CTAC) is accelerating the development of domestically manufactured, cheaper and more efficient cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells, making American-made solar panels more affordable. We are working to make it affordable for consumers at a price.

Impact of CdTe on green energy

Credit: Toledo Solar

The consortium, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Solar Energy Technologies, has focused on CdTe photovoltaics, a type of thin-film solar cell made from a combination of cadmium, tellurium, and other materials. CdTe cells have several advantages over traditional silicon-based solar cells, including lower production costs and higher efficiency in converting sunlight into electricity.

With a maximum theoretical conversion efficiency of over 31%, CdTe solar technology has yet to reach its full growth potential. CdTe is already a strong photovoltaic product, historically powering the utility-scale market.

However, CdTe products face significant competition from Chinese-made silicon solar panels, which is a logistical and human rights issue, increasing the need for American-made solar solutions. Chinese solar power companies Related to forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,prompt U.S. Government Bans Over 1,000 Shipments of solar energy components following a June law banning imports from solar manufacturing regions.

As a result, demand for American-made CdTe solar outstrips supply, making it difficult for suppliers to bring costs down. CdTe solar panels are an important part of the energy transition, and most utility-scale projects in the US utilize his CdTe technology. Making his CdTe more widely available to consumers is a major focus of Toledo Solar and his CTAC.

Already, the consortium has experienced a growing number of students and faculty working with the solar industry to accelerate CdTe research, eradicate information silos, and leverage collaboration to drive long-term improvement. .

Specifically, the consortium aims to achieve greater than 24% CdTe cell efficiency and less than 20¢/W module cost by 2025 and greater than 26% cell efficiency and less than 15¢/W module cost by 2030. Aiming to be

Realizing American-made solar power on a large scale

Credit: Toledo Solar

Historically, trends in global energy markets have been tied to natural gas prices. Fossil fuel costs have risen sharply over the past year, and geopolitical conflicts have reminded many that hostile energy partners are not a good long-term energy strategy.

as a result, About 70% of homeowners says they are interested in installing solar panels to reduce long-term costs and reduce their carbon footprint.

With lower production costs and higher efficiency compared to conventional silicon-based solar cells, CdTe technology has the potential to increase adoption and use of renewable energy sources. Additionally, CdTe has the lowest carbon footprint in the solar industry, and the US-based production facility helps alleviate ethical or supply chain concerns plaguing the industry.

The demand for solar panels is expected to grow over the next few decades. The development of CdTe alone will not make solar power successful. However, it is a foundation with long-term implications for countries striving to meet climate goals, communities investing in more sustainable energy solutions, and homeowners looking to cut costs. product.

Simply put, there is a growing demand for more affordable and clean energy from ethical products with long-term benefits such as recyclability that can support large-scale solar deployment. CTAC harnesses the power of public-private partnerships to accelerate the green energy transition, promoting accessibility and affordability.

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