Natural resource limitations to terawatt solar cell deployment

Coby S. Tao, Jiechao Jiang, Meng Tao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


The predicted energy demands will reach 28 terawatts by 2050 and 46 terawatts by 2100. The deployment of solar cells as a source of energy will have to expand to a scale of tens of peak terawatts in order to become a noticeable source of energy in the future. Of the current commercial and developmental solar cell technologies, the majority have natural resource limitations that prevent them from reaching a terawatt scale. These limitations include high energy input for crystalline-Si cells, limited material production for GaAs cells, and material scarcity for CdTe, CIGS, dye-sensitized, crystalline-Si, and amorphous Si cells. In this paper, we examine these resource limitations under the best scenarios, i.e. the maximum possible power from each of these solar cell technologies. Without significant technological breakthroughs, these technologies combined would meet only 1-2% of our energy demands in 2100.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhotovoltaics for the 21st Century 6\
PublisherElectrochemical Society Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781566778732
ISBN (Print)9781607682233
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventPhotovoltaics for the 21st Century 6 - 218th ECS Meeting - Las Vegas, NV, United States
Duration: Oct 10 2010Oct 15 2010

Publication series

NameECS Transactions
ISSN (Print)1938-5862
ISSN (Electronic)1938-6737


OtherPhotovoltaics for the 21st Century 6 - 218th ECS Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLas Vegas, NV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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