Phase II I/UCRC Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station Site: Center for Next Generation Photovoltaics
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Phase II I/UCRC Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station Site: Center for Next Generation PhotovoltaicsTexas A&M University (TAMU) joins the existing NSF I/UCRC Next Generation Photovoltaic Center (Center) which presently operates as a Phase II Center with research sites at the University of Texas-Austin (UTA) and Colorado State University (CSU). Energy security and sustainability is one of the grand challenges facing modern societies. The long-term vision of this research center it to bring together the science, engineering, education, policy advances to enable widespread adoption of solar energy. While the cost of the photovoltaic (PV) "solar cell" has dropped significantly, there are numerous challenges that remain that must be addressed before electricity generated directly from the sun can become a cost-competitive with traditional sources. The addition of Texas A&M University enables the center to address the balance-of-system (BOS) issues that lie at that interface of solar cells into the electrical grid.The TAMU site will specialize in the end-to-end continuous spectrum of PV BOS technologies that are not a current focus of the Center. There are also numerous non-technical issues that create challenges for the PV industry. These so-called ?soft-cost? of the balance-of-system will also be part of the TAMU Site research agenda. The scope of the TAMU ? BOS Site (Site) will enable the Center to assess the entire solar industry, bringing value to all stake-holders from OEM equipment manufacturers, through systems integration, to end-customers and consumers. Because of this wide scope, the Site will be positioned to impact the industry through a scientifically-based, data driven research, design, and development process that is not currently available to individual BOS organizations. The TAMU Site will concentrate on research that assesses predictors of technology outcomes and global imprint of solar energy, along with solar costs, as indicated through technology teams, funding sources, collection technologies, as well as enhancing Center research on PV and additional conversion solar variables.