Strategic Energy Technologies Information System

European Industrial Initiative on solar energy - Photovoltaic energy

Indicative Roadmap (click on Figure to enlarge)

Strategic objective

To improve the competitiveness and ensure the sustainability of the technology and to facilitate its large-scale penetration in urban areas and as free-field production units, as well as its integration into the electricity grid.

Industrial sector objective:
Establish photovoltaics (PV) as a clean, competitive and sustainable energy technology providing up to 12% of European electricity demand by 2020.

Technology objectives

1.    PV Systems to enhance the energy yield and reduce costs

  • To increase conversion efficiency, stability and lifetime.
  • To further develop and demonstrate advanced, high-yield, high-throughput manufacturing processes, including in-line monitoring and control
  • To develop advanced concepts and new generation of PV systems

2.    Integration of PV-generated electricity

  • To develop and validate innovative, economic and sustainable PV applications
  • To develop grid interfaces and storage technologies capable of optimising the PV contribution to the EU electrical energy supply from installations urban and in green field environments


To meet these challenges the Initiative proposes the following actions:

1.    PV Systems to enhance the energy yield and reduce cost.

  • A collaborative technological development programme focused on enhancing the performance and lifetime of PV systems impacts directly on the cost of the electricity generated. Advances in this area need to be driven by better understanding of material behaviour and the realisation of engineered devices with specific characteristics, which have also potential to be reproduced in efficient fabrication processes. Improved system architecture, balance of system components and operational control are needed to complement increases in cell efficiency and ensure higher overall energy output. The scalability of the results will be demonstrated on pilot production environments.
  • A collaborative technological development programme on manufacturing process development to address the twin challenges of PV device innovation and scalability to mass production. Advanced high-yield manufacturing processes for substrates, cells and modules, transparent conductive oxides, packaging and encapsulation have to be brought to commercial maturity. Advanced application technologies for active layers, roll-to-roll manufacturing on flexible substrates, high-temperature substrates for ultra-thin polycrystalline silicon cells or high-throughput deposition for other thin-film material systems have to be developed and demonstrated in pilot production lines. Such trials should include a complete range of features so as to facilitate subsequent transfer to production.
  • A longer-term research programme aimed at supporting the development of the PV industry beyond 2020. Advanced concepts which need to be investigated and checked for feasibility include up/down converters, quantum and plasmonic effects to boost efficiency, device concepts for organic/ inorganic hybrids and multi-junction materials, and bulk-type intermediate band materials.

2.    Integration of PV-generated electricity

  • A technology development and demonstration programme for Building-Integrated PV (BIPV). Aesthetics and suitability are the challenges that relate to both the appearance and functionality of the module and its support structure. Advanced BIPV modules need to be developed which are multifunctional, self-cleaning and serve as construction elements. To support the large-scale deployment in typical urban environments and small decentralised communities demonstration projects ("Solar Cities") will be promoted.
  • A technology development and demonstration programme on stand-alone and large ground-based PV systems, such as simplified module mounting structures, combined inverter and tracker electronics, combined maximum power point and smart tracking control, low cost support structures, cabling and electrical connections need to be accelerated. A portfolio of demonstration projects for ground-based PV power plants on the scale of 50-100 MW each would deliver proof of concept in terms of feasibility, costs and benefits.
  • A technology development and demonstration programme on connection to electricity networks and advanced power storage devices. It is very important to develop system components, including highly efficient inverters with new semiconductor materials (SiC, GaN), controllers and dedicated energy management tools (models, software and hardware). Introduction of new storage technologies in pilot units for large-scale field trials and assessment of their lifetime and cost will promote the deployment of such systems and improve the dispatchability to the grid of the electricity generated. . The same applies for the development of active distribution systems, with improved functionality regarding voltage regulation, power management and use of distributed energy storage.

Indicative costs (2010-2020)

Technology objectives

Costs (M€)

1. PV systems

5 500

2. Integration of PV-generated electricity

3 500


9 000

This reflects the total sum of the required public and private investments.

Indicative Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)


Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

1. PV system

·      Reduced conventional turnkey PV system cost to

·      Reduced concentrated PV system cost to

·      Increased PV (module) conversion efficiency to > 23 % by 2020

·      Increased conversion efficiency of concentrated PV to > 35% by 2020

·      Increased crystalline silicon and thin film modules lifetime to 40 years

2. Integration of PV-electricity generation

·      Increased inverter lifetime to >25 years by 2020

·      Battery storage cost 25 years