IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme
No. 19 -
23 June 2004
market growth for photovoltaic (PV) solar power applications
has averaged more than 30% in many IEA countries over
recent years. Expanding beyond their original vocation
small-scale rural electrification, PV
are now also increasingly connected to electricity
grids worldwide. Today's evolving energy industries
and markets offer more opportunities than ever for
exploiting photovoltaic solar power.
Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS) links national
teams into a mainstream force for expanding
application of PV systems worldwide.
issue of IEA's OPEN Bulletin presents
the Programme's activities and products.
IEA-PVPS is one of some forty Implementing
Agreements within the IEA’s Framework for International
Energy Technology Co-operation.
years of international co-operation have enabled
the Programme's 21
participating countries to assemble
a wealth of expertise, ranging from market surveys
and policy analyses to technical guidelines or product and
project databases. Details
of more than 100 IEA-PVPS publications and other products
can be found on the PVPS website.
1. New stakeholders - a new decade
energy solutions for the emerging global market
3. Tracking PV progress - technology and market trends
4. Can PV technology deliver on its promises?
5. The right tool for the job
6. A hungry
market, a good product – making it happen
big picture - PV in future global energy supply
8. Exploiting synergies
1. New stakeholders - Photovoltaic power
system (PVPS) technologies are ready for widespread application in today's
markets. PV is an increasingly popular option around the world.
the community of stakeholders
audiences for the work of the IEA-PVPS Programme extends beyond the
electricity utilities, the PV industry and government. Today, builders,
project developers and international agencies are all active players in
the fast evolving market. Technology is striding ahead.
Some PV solutions are already economical, others are attracting great interest
added value they promise,
some are longer-term options
whose development requires continued
A new decade - With
six projects, or "Tasks",
the second-decade agenda of the IEA-PVPS international collaborative effort
covers multiple areas of broad,
ongoing interest. A core message is that PV costs
are falling constantly and that
public funding delivers results. It is crucial to foster better
understanding of PV’s premium
(added) values and highlight ways of factoring them into investment
decisions, particularly for grid-connected PV.
New players from the construction, planning and finance sectors
must be brought into the PV community's dialogue.
PV, the spotlight is on non-technical
deployment barriers like securing finance for systems and
services and on
and developers. Central issues are
how to optimise on international opportunities in a carbon constrained
world, how to meet market
instability, and how to address the continuing
key role of the electric utilities.
energy solutions for the emerging global market. As the global
market finds definition, PV is poised to provide urban energy solutions.
Whether for a newly planned community targeting an environmentally
and sociologically conscious market, or an existing high-density built
urban area, PV can meet the needs. The newest PVPS project - Task
deals with Urban-Scale PV Applications. Its international team brings
the expertise of architects, builders, municipal planners, financiers,
utilities, solar industries and educators. The Task will build on existing
market development success stories in helping to establish a sustainable
global urban market. Business opportunities through urban energy solutions
constitute the theme of Task 10.
Incorporated into the new project’s work will be findings from two
completed IEA-PVPS Tasks. Task
5 developed and verified technical guidelines
for grid interconnection of building-integrated and other dispersed PV
7 dealt with integration of PV into the architectural
design of roofs and
facades of residential, commercial and industrial buildings, and of structures
like noise barriers, parking areas and railway
It also analysed market
factors (both technical and non-technical) that
influence widespread adoption of PV in the built environment.
As a mainstream element in urban buildings, PV has a natural place
design and in energy-conscious urban planning. Consult the Task
PV progress - technology and market trends. With
typical annual growth of more than 30%,
PV market performance is impressive in the IEA-PVPS countries. Market
recently doubled over every two years or so. The picture varies enormously,
however, among countries. Indications
of global trends can be gained by studying developments
in IEA-PVPS participating countries.
representative overview of
evolving markets in IEA countries is provided each year by Trends
in Photovoltaic Applications. Based on National
Survey Reports from IEA-PVPS countries, this report is compiled by the
1 information team. It tracks
technology status and analyses trends for systems, components
and applications in the
various PV power system
markets. Information is presented
against the backdrop of current local business environments,
policies and relevant non-technical
factors. Some informative findings emerge.
around 75% of currently installed PV capacity in the reporting countries
as a whole, grid-connected PV is growing sharply, and increasing proportions
of public PV budgets
now go to market
initiatives rather than demonstration/field trials. Taken individually,
however, not all reporting countries reflect these trends; off-grid
applications still account for greater shares of new and existing installed
more than 50% of countries.
recent years, output of modules has been increasing by some 50% per
year, and so has production
capacity. Japan accounts
of the expansion.
Although many PV materials are now available, the vast majority
of module output is
still based on crystalline silicon material.
prices continue to fall. But they fluctuate, and they vary
among countries, an inevitability, given the stage of market deployment
impact of non-technical
factors. PV may
a costly option in the urban environment, but public opinion
reports pages on the IEA-PVPS website present collected
findings and analysis on technical, economic, environmental and social
aspects of PV systems and applications.
PV technology deliver on its promises? What
about operational performance, or long-term reliability, or sizing of
questions like these are crucial for fast evolving technologies.
Technical updates are provided by IEA-PVPS
Task 2 to a diverse
audience of PV practitioners
and experts, research laboratories, utilities, manufacturers, system
designers, installers, standardisation organisations and vocational
tool for this is the PV Performance
international source of digested information on the technical
aspects of PV power systems and subsystems. Drawn from published
and unpublished material, national submissions and
selected contacts, the information is presented using standard data-collection
Users can select
data, monitoring data and calculated results, all of which can be
exported into spreadsheet programmes. The database is updated regularly
and, like most IEA-PVPS publications, downloadable free of charge.
ensure quality and comparability of database content, and to underpin
analytical reports on key issues, IEA-PVPS
Task 2 also undertakes analysis of performance and maintenance
data for PV power systems and components in participating
countries. Work to date has dealt notably with: availability
of irradiation data; tools for checking the
performance of PV systems; shading effects and temperature effects;
performance and reliability; monitoring techniques; and normalised
evaluation of PV systems. Useful
guidance is also available
from Task 2 on
sizing of PV power systems and suggested ways of improving
PV system performance.
5. The right tool for the
control for off-grid
is based on the premise that all phases in the
life cycle are potential sources of failure. Quality
off-grid PV is the specialisation of Task
3. This team provides
managers with experience-based guidelines for quality
assurance in PV systems, projects and programmes. The ultimate objective
is a warranty of service
to the user at a reasonable cost.
of quality assurance procedures is often difficult in the field, especially
when procedures are complex and when the installation, operation and maintenance
phases all have to be covered. Also, assessing
the performance of installed stand-alone PV systems involves not only
technical criteria, but also non-technical
and social factors. Task 3 activities
provide new project managers with realistic, efficient
managing off-grid PV system quality in the field.
contributions to cost reduction of PV hybrid
come within the remit of Task 3. Standardisation
and modularity of systems are promoted, along with ways to reduce investment
costs and increase performance through design of storage
systems like batteries.
Guidance is provided on selection procedures and energy management strategies.
(Consult also the Website topic "off-grid".)
6. A hungry market, a good product – making it happen. An
estimated 1.64 billion people around the world lack access
to electricity, 99% of them in developing countries. Conventional electricity
grids will not reach them in the foreseeable
future. Renewable energy, and especially PV, can provide
electricity for basic services and thus contribute directly
to meeting the Millennium Development Goals accepted by
the international community.
Task 9 works to increase the rate of successful deployment of PV systems
in developing counties. PV systems can contribute to rural electrification
through diverse applications. They can supply health
clinics (refrigeration for vaccines, sterilization and lighting),
PV solar systems can provide electricity for lighting
and low-power appliances
such as radios. PV can fuel community
battery-charging and water-pumping for drinking, livestock and
irrigation. In many
areas, the technology is cost-competitive with traditional alternatives
such as kerosene lamps and small diesel generators.
Task 9 team's brief is to
enhance co-operation and information flow between the IEA-PVPS
Programme and all the key stakeholders.
Its goal is to provide an effective and efficient programme addressing
the needs and potential of all the partners. Work
is organised around three themes.
requirements in developing countries - helping to overcome the critical
barriers to widespread PV deployment and implementation through development,
of a series of guideline
- Energy and PV's technical and economic potential and opportunities - stimulating awareness and interest amongst the multi-
and bilateral agencies, NGOs and other target sectors, thus
enabling decision-makers to gain
the necessary expertise and knowledge to seize opportunities for deployment
- Technical supply and economics - identifying the various options
available and working on the issues for the preparation, design
and implementation of PV deployment
big picture - PV in future global energy supply. We
can expect large-scale change in the energy sector over the coming
decades. Where might PV be tomorrow? IEA-PVPS Task
8 is looking towards an
exciting future for PV and world energy supply. It is evaluating the feasibility
of creating very large-scale PV systems in
the world’s desert areas. Their
capacities would range from multi megawatts to gigawatts.
key factors opening the way to such very large-scale PV systems
have been identified. So have the benefits of
such applications for neighbouring regions and their potential
contribution to global environmental protection and longer-term harnessing
energies. Medium- and long-term scenario projections have been made
for the feasibility of deploying very large-scale PV systems in specific
8 is now looking at in-depth case studies and developing practical proposals
for demonstration projects and pilot systems suitable for selected
regions. These should provide general guidance for development of practical
projects and chart the sustainable path to larger
systems in the future. The IEA-PVPS website provides more documentation.
8. Exploiting synergies.
In line with the IEA's objective of expanding international collaboration
to promote sustainable
energy systems, the IEA-PVPS Programme maintains close links with
other IEA co-operative efforts. It thereby focuses on the
growing need for cross-technology-oriented approaches, notably with
other technologies for solar energy or for energy in buildings-related
activities. A recent joint meeting with the IEA
Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC) Programme resulted in concrete co-operation
linking SHC Tasks on solar
resource data management and on hybrid PV/thermal collectors with the IEA-PVPS
Task 10 on urban-scale photovoltaics.
important, the IEA-PVPS Programme is present at major international events,
such as the recent International
Conference for Renewable Energies in Bonn (Germany) and
the subsequent 19th
European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition in Paris
the presentation during
an IEA side event at the Bonn conference by IEA-PVPS Executive Committee
Chair, Stefan Nowak.
in 1993, the IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA-PVPS) is one of
the collaborative research and development agreements
within the IEA's Framework for International
Energy Technology Co-operation.
The mission of the programme is to “enhance the international collaboration
efforts which accelerate the development and deployment of photovoltaic solar
energy as a significant and sustainable renewable energy option”. The
Programme's mandate is to support ongoing growth in the market for photovoltaic
(PV) systems beyond the present niche markets of remote applications and consumer
products and towards the utility market, building-integrated and other distributed
and centralised PV generation systems. Click for more about the Programme.