Dr. Sarah Kurtz received her PhD from Harvard University in Chemical Physics in 1985 with Roy Gordon. She moved directly to the Solar Energy Research Institute (now the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL) where she has worked for more than 30 years on a variety of solar energy projects. She is known for her contributions to developing multijunction, GaInP/GaAs solar cells, supporting the Concentrator Photovoltaic (PV) industry, and, more recently, her work with PV performance and reliability. Her work has been recognized with a jointly received Dan David Prize in 2007, the Cherry Award in 2012, and the C3E Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. In late 2017 she transitioned to a faculty position at the University of California at Merced, while continuing work with NREL.
Title and Abstract of the Speech:
What is known, unknown, and why we shouldn’t “look the other way”
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), 15013 Denver W Pkwy, Golden, CO 80401, USA
As the PV industry has grown and prices have dropped precipitously, the question arises: “Will the new, lower priced PV actually work?”. This talk will review some of the technical challenges toward making low-cost PV work for a lifetime and the progress that has been made toward addressing these, including the effects of new (e.g. glass-glass designs) module designs, the importance of controlling the installation process, and simply knowing what questions to ask. Fraudulent (cells replaced by paper replicas) have been found in Africa and should not be allowed into Turkey! The keys to success are to start with a commitment to high reliability and strong quality control, then follow through to ensure that the results are as desired.