“Our past and our beginnings can only be valued by seeing where our life
stands now in entering this glorious afterlife.”
Egyptian Book of the Dead (2025-1700 B.C.)
The birth of modern photovoltaics (PV) traces only to the mid-1950s, with the Bell Telephone Laboratories’ development of an efficient, single-crystal Si solar cell. The inventors (Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson) did not envision that their 2-cm2, 6%-efficient solar cell would lead to our world of electricity projecting terawatts generated from this simple device. They did not really foresee the surge of manufacturing and deployment in Asia, the embracing of the green-energy benefits in Europe, and the paradoxical investment in these technologies by the petroleum-abundant Arab countries—nor the evolvement from those milliwatts of the 1950s to the multi-GW production of today Since then, Si has dominated the technology and the markets, from space through terrestrial applications. In this presentation, we examine the current status of PV—where we are with the technology, the markets, and the industry. We will look at the status of R&D and look toward the future—the prospects and coming generations of solar. We will look back to time, providing insights into the Bell Labs activities and personalities involved—their motivations, their expertise, and how these “beginnings” brought us to “where our PV life stands now.”
Dr. Kazmerski is Emeritus Research Staff Member at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and also hold positions of Research Professor at the University of Colorado, Visiting Professor of Solar Energy at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica, Minas Gerais, Brasil, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. Dr. Kazmerski was the first scientist to join the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in the USA in 1977 in the field of photovoltaics. He has made many pioneering contributions, including the development of several types of thin film solar cells, characterization and measurement of solar cells, reliability of photovoltaics and soiling and dust mitigation for photovoltaic modules. During his long association with NREL between 1977 and 2013, he held several important positions including Founding Director of the National Centre for Photovoltaics (1999-2008), and Founding Co-Director of the Solar Energy Research Institute for India and the US (SERIIUS) (2012-13). Dr. Kazmerski has more than 320 publications and some 200 invited talks on various aspects of photovoltaics to his credit. He has been Editor, or member of the Editorial Board of leading journals like Solar Cells, Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology, Renewable Energy, and Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. His work in the field has been recognized by several awards, including the IEEE William R. Cherry Award 1993 for contributions to PV. Besides being a Fellow of IEEE, Dr Kazmerski is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society, a Fellow of the American Solar Energy Society, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.