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Light & Engineering Vol. 16, No. 4, pp.

5-11, 2008

Svetotekhnika No. 3, 2008, pp. 4-9

Demetrius S. Strebkov1
GNU «All Russia Research Institute for the Electrification of Agriculture (VIESKh)» E-mail:

Solar energy resources are vast and accessible to all countries. The amount of solar energy incoming to the territory of Russia during just one week exceeds the energy from all Russian supplies of oil, gas, coal, and uranium. In Russia and Europe, the percentage of solar energy converted into a biomass and hydro-energy is 6 % of the total volume of energy production, and in developing countries it is 80 % [1]. According to UN terminology, all types of energy based on solar energy are named renewable energy sources (RES). By 2010, the share of RES in European Economic Union (EEU) is to increase to 12 %; the power of solar energy systems (SES) will reach 3 GW, and the RES share including hydroelectric power will grow to 22.1 %. In 2003, the SES energy consumption was 2880.8 TWh. In 2030 the forecast SES power using photoelectric processes of solar energy transformation will reach 300 GW worldwide at a cost of about 1000 Eu/kW, with users paying from 0.05 to 0.12 Eu/kW·h [2]. RES can be a substitute for coal, oil, gas, and uranium for production of electricity, heat, and liquid fuel. At the 2000 Okinawa summit, leaders of the Big Eight formed a Special International Group and a Group of Consultants with the objective of analyzing obstacles and formulating proposals for development of world renewable energy. In the report [3] presented by the former group and approved by leaders of the Big Eight at the Genoa summit in July 2001, the goal was set to provide two billion people within ten years with RES energy, and a concept

Presentation at 10-th seminar Engineering Day» March 4, 2008



was formulated for the electrification of agriculture in developing countries. The total cost of this project is estimated to be about $200–250 bln. As comparison, the 10 year expenses of those two billion people on candles, kerosene lamps, furnaces using solid and liquid fuel, oil and diesel electric power stations would be about $400–500 bln [4]. The statement of leaders of the Big Eight in Genoa reads: «The development of RES will be in our national plans. We will also support research on and investment in new technologies.» Below we discuss the most important factors and technologies, which determine the promising directions of development of world solar energetics and its role in the overall energetics of the future; the latter depends on the development and use of new physical principles, technologies, materials, and designs to be used in competitive SES. We can list the following criteria of competitiveness of photoelectric solar energetics: • Efficiency of solar electrical stations (photoelectric SES) should be no less than 20 %; • Annual power usage hours of solar electrical stations should be 8760, i.e. they should produce electrical power 24 hours for 12 months a year; • The life of a solar electrical station should be 50 years; • The cost of one kilowatt of peak power of a solar electrical station should not exceed $1000; • Production volume of semi-conductive materials for solar elements (SE) should be more than 1 mln tonn per year at the price of no more than $15/kg;


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Fig. 1. Global photoelectric solar energo-system with three solar power stations

• Materials and manufacturing technology for SE and solar modules (SM) should be ecologically clean and safe. Let us discuss to what extent the present goals and directions in the development of photoelectric solar energetics meet these criteria. IMPROVING THE EFFICIENCY OF SOLAR ENERGY TRANSFORMATION The maximal efficiency of laboratory samples of SE based on cascade hetero structures is 36.9 % (Spectrolab Co., USA), and based on silicon it is 24 %. Practically all factories in Russia

and abroad produce SE with 14–17 % efficiency. In 2003, Sun Power Corp. (USA) began production of SE (based on silicon) with dimensions 125 x 125 mm and the efficiency of 20 %. A new generation of SE is being developed with an ultimate efficiency up to 93 %, which makes use of new physical principles, materials, and structures. Main efforts are directed towards full utilization of the entire solar radiation spectrum and full photon energy; that is possible if the goal «each photon must be absorbed in a semi-conductor forbidden band with a width equal to the photon’s energy» has been achieved. This would reduce losses in SE by 47 %. In order to achieve this goal, some promising SE is being developed; among them, cascade semi-conductors with: various forbidden bandwidth; with variable forbidden bandwidth; and with impurity energy levels in forbidden bands. Other approaches towards increasing SE efficiency make use of concentrated solar radiation, development of polymer SE, as well as silicon and fulerin-based nano-structures. It is also suggested that the principles of microwave energy transformation (resonator–waveguide – rectifier) be used for transformation of solar energy [2]. New technologies and materials will make it possible in the next five years to increase the efficiency of laboratory and pilot production SE samples re-

Fig. 2. Electrical energy production by global photoelectric solar energo-system


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Table 1. Results of testing of resonance transmission system of 20 kW electrical energy
Electrical power with loading, кW Current, А Voltage, V Line voltage (single wire line), кV Line voltage frequency, кHz Line length, m Line conductor diameter, mm Maximal current density in line conductor, А/mm2 Maximal transmitted power density in line conductor, М W/mm2 6 0.08 600 20.52 54 380 Fig. 3. Resonance system of electrical energy transmission 6.8 3.4 1700 1


spectively up to 40 and 26–30 % for SE based on cascade hetero-structures, and up to 28 and 22 % for silicon-based SE. INCREASE IN THE USAGE TIME OF SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS The annual time of power usage averaged out to 5200 h for Thermo ES, 1000–4800 h for Hydro ES, 2000–3000 h for Wind ES, and 1000–2500 h for Solar ES [5]. A stationary solar power station with 20 % efficiency and the peak power of 1 kW produces annually 2 MW·h in Central Russia and Germany, and up to 3.5 MW·h in the Sahara. With a Sun-tracking system this will increase by 40 %. Dependence of the SES output energy on daytime and weather conditions is an Achilles’ heel in competition with TES. Therefore, to date, in large-scale production projects as well as in forecasting development of photoelectric solar energetics, the accumulation of solar energy has been assumed to be provided by water electrolysis and hydrogen storage. We conducted computer modeling of a global photoelectrical SES containing three solar power stations installed in Australia, Africa, and Latin America, which are connected by power lines with low losses (Fig. 1). We took into consideration all data on solar radiation, and we assumed the efficiency of each power station to be equal to 20 %.

Fig. 2 shows a graph of energy production in the global photoelectric SES. The latter generates energy 24 h a day uniformly during a year. Each SES covers the area 210 x 210 km and produces 2.5 TW of electrical power [6]. In connection with the development of integrated energy-systems in Europe, North and South America and the proposals of development of a global photoelectric SES, new goals have emerged aiming at developing a means of transmitting terawatts electrical energy flows between continents. In the process of competition between transmission systems for ac and dc currents a third method can emerge, namely resonance waveguide transmission method [7]. As one can see from Fig. 3, the resonance system (RS) of electrical energy transmission consists of two resonance high frequency Tesla transformers 2 and 4, connected by a high-voltage single-conductor transmission line 3. By utilizing modified Tesla transformers we developed RS for transmission of electrical energy of 20 kW power to the distance of 1.7 km. The results of testing of this RS are shown in Table 1. At transmitted powers of 20 kW and 1 kW the system efficiency is respectively 85 % and 95 %. The main losses occur in frequency converters 1 and 5 and in the RS input and output contours; but it is possible to reduce them to 5–7 %. Joule- and radiative losses in a single-conductor transmission line are negligible. Fig. 4 shows one of the experimental RS of electrical energy transmission, and Fig. 5 shows how it operates providing electrical energy to a model of electrical vessel in a pool, utilizing tap water as a single-conductor transmission line [10]. INCREASING LIFE OF SOLAR POWER STATIONS The life of both Thermo- and Nuclear ES is usually about 30–40 years. The life of a semiconductor SE exceeds 50 years, since interaction of photons with atoms and electrons does not result in ei-


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Fig. 6. Optical schematic of symmetrical solar concentrators with concentration coefficients 3 (a) and 10 (b) Fig. 4. Experimental resonance system of electrical energy transmission (along a single-conductor line) from solar power station of 100 W power

ther a degradation of crystal structure or a change in the velocity of surface and volume recombination of charge carriers. However, solar modules (SM) with such SE have a life of only 20 years in a tropical climate and 25 years in a moderate one because of ageing of polymer materials: ethylene-vinyl-acetate and tedlar, which are used for hermetization of SE and SM. To increase SM life, it is necessary to exclude polymers from their design. In SM of a new design, several SE are enclosed in a glass packet made of two glass plates sealed at the ends by soldering or welding. Such technology guaranties the SM hermetization for 50 years. In order to reduce the SE temperature and losses, the inner volume of the module is filled with silicon-organic liquid [9]. Besides this, the new polymerless technology of SM assembly was utilized for development of effective transparent vacuum thermal insulation (TVTI). Here, a narrow vacuumed space was sub-

stituted for silicon-organic liquid between glass plates [10]. If there is an infrared reflective coating on the inner glass surface, then thermo-conductivity could be reduced tenfold in comparison with just single glass windows. Solar stations with vacuum between glass panels can heat water up to 90 °C instead of 60 °C. That means that instead of being a source of hot water for buildings, they could also be used for heating systems. Thus, energy saving in hot houses and winter gardens can be as high as 50 %. Utilization of TVTI with the selective coating and 12 mm TVTI thickness for siding of buildings with southern exposure makes it possible to transform these buildings into a giant solar collector and it is equivalent to the increase of wall thickness by 1 m (for brick work). TVTI is especially effective in southern regions of Russia and, for example, in Buryatiya and Yakutiya, where during winter anticyclone the air temperature is –30 °C, but the temperature is +30 °C for the selective coating at TVTI thickness of 10 mm. Utilization of TVTI during summer time can reduce expenses for a building’s air conditioning by 50 %.

Fig. 5. Model of electrical energy transmission to vessels by water single-conductor channel; testing of electrical model of a river ship in GNU VIESKh by using tap water as a channel. The output power and voltage of transmittance block are respectively 100 W and 1 kV


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REDUCING COST OF SOLAR POWER STATIONS Cost of 1 kW of produced electrical power in dollars/kW are equal to: $1000–2500 for hydro electric power stations, $800–1400 for thermal EPS, $800–3000 for wind EPS, and $2000–3000 for nuclear EPS [7]. The main component of modern SPS that determines its cost is a solar module with a solar element based on silicon. The current cost of a SM per 1 kW of power is $3500–4000 /kW at the SES production volume of 1 GW/year and a respective cost of SES is $6000–8000 /kW. It is planned to reduce the above-mentioned cost down to $1000 /kW in the year 2020 [2]. The main methods of SES cost reduction are: improvement of efficiency, increasing SM sizes and production volume, reducing cost and silicon consumption per unit of SES power, combining production of SES energy and heat. The maximal SM size is limited by glass dimensions, and for 1 kW power it is 2.5 x 3 m. The production volume of SM increases by 30 % per year, while their cost had dropped by a factor of 10 since 1976. In Russia, a technology of manufacturing solar poly-silicone without chlorine has been developed at a cost of $15 /kg, which is half its price on European market (Table 2) [11]. A new technology of manufacturing solar poly-silicone with production volume of 5000 ton/year will be implemented in the years 2008–2010. Table 2. Manufacturing technology of polycrystalline silicone without chlorine
Starting materials: ethanol and metallurgical silicone Si + 3 C2 H5 OH =SiH (OC2 H5)3 4 SiH (OC2 H5)3 = SiH4 + 3 Si (OC2 H5)4 SiH4 =Si + 2 H2 As a result of this technology: Cost of polycrystalline silicone is reduced in half to $15 /кg. Silicone purity increases to 99.999 % Manufacturing process becomes ecologically safe.

Fig. 7. Solar power station with peak power of 1 kW and parabolic-cylindrical stationary modules

Fig. 8. Cost of solar module with peak power of 1 kW with parabolic-cylindrical concentrator with aperture angle of 360° (for Northern latitudes) as a function of its efficiency

According to the new technology, metallurgical silicone and ethanol are used as starting materials (the latter as a substitute for hydrochloric acid). Intermediate products of the process are triectoxisilane and mono-silane. The cost saving is due to

decrease in the process temperature and energy consumption. This also results in a significant improvement in the manufacturer’s ecological characteristics and the quality of silicone, to such a degree that it can be used in electronic industry. The fastest way to reduce costs and reach SES production volume of 1 GW/year is the utilization of solar radiation concentrators. The cost of 1 m2 of a glass mirror concentrator is one tenth of the cost of 1 m2 of SM surface. In Russia, stationary concentrators have been developed with the concentration coefficient of 3–10 and the aperture angle of 480, which, within this angle, allows, concentration of both direct and scattered components of solar radiation (Figs. 6 and 7) [12]. The use of low cost solar poly-silicon and stationary concentrators make it possible to speed up SES cost reduction up to $1000 /kW from the year 2015 to 2020. Solar power stations can provide industrial and residential buildings with electrical power, hot water, and heating. At their electrical efficiency of 10–15 % the coefficient of solar energy utiliza-


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Fig. 9. Portion of solar energy in global energy consumption

tion is equal to 50–60 %. Utilization of stationary concentrators makes it possible to increase a heat carrier’s temperature to 90 °C and to reduce SES cost to $1000 /kW. Based on SM with a concentrator, solar thermo-electrical systems are being developed for high-rise and single family homes and industrial buildings, as well as central stationary solar power stations for cities, towns, and agricultural and industrial businesses. The ESE efficiency increase reduces energy and materials consumption for generating of one unit of power, and the size and cost of land for SES building. As Fig. 8 shows, the production cost of SM with a stationary concentrator and the efficiency of 20 % is significantly lower than $1000 /kW. PROVIDING ECOLOGICALLY FRIENDLY PRODUCTION OF SOLAR POWER SYSTEMS Mankind will not be threatened by an energy crisis caused by the depleting supply of gas, oil and coal if it develops solar energy technologies. Hence, the problem of contamination of the environment by exhaust from electric power stations and transport will be solved, as well as the problems of supplying high quality food products, and those of how to provide education, health-care and increased life quality and duration. SES create new work places and increase safety for energy users, affording them a measure of independence due to fuel-free and decentralized energy production. SES are capable of producing ecologically clean energy for millions of years; they are noiseless, do not consume fuel, work to an automatic regime, while their maintenance costs are as low as those of electric transformer sub-stations [13]. SES organically suit nature’s landscapes and living environment. They can form architectural ensembles such as solar facades, solar roofs on hous-

es, farms, shopping centres, storage facilities and indoor parking garages. The newly developed SES technologies avoid ecologically unacceptable chemical processes of etching and treatment, using instead vacuum, plasmachemical, electric beam and laser processes. Also of high priority are processes for recycling production waste and de-commissioned SYS components after end of life [14]. As one can see from Fig. 9, till the17 th century, the solar energy and the energy of burned wood (in which solar energy is accumulated due to photosynthesis) were the only sources of energy available to man. Today 20 % of world energy production is also based on using accumulated solar energy in forms of burning wood, hydro- and wind power. Due to the new principles of transformation of solar energy, and the new technologies of production of solar silicon and SEs based thereon, as well as hermetization of SMs, using stationary solar energy concentrators and new methods of electric power transmission (with the objective of developing a global photo-electric SES), solar energy by the end of the current century will contribute make up 60 to 90 % of global energy consumption. SUMMARY 1. The significant factors essential for the successful development of solar energetics are as follows: 1.1 Ability to provide non-stop round-the-clock and all-year-round transformation and usage of solar energy; 1.2 SES efficiency not less than 20 %; 1.3 SES life expectancy up to 50 years; 1.4 Decrease in cost of SES peak power up to no less than $1000 /kW; 1.5 If solar poly-silicon is used as a SES working semiconductor element, its cost need not exceed


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$15 /kg at production volume no less that 1 Mt/year (which would correspond to the SES production of 100 GW/year): 1.6 Ecologically clean and safe raw materials and SES production technologies. 2. The new technologies will make it possible to reach the targets 1.2–1.6 by the year 2015, and 1.1 – by 2100. 3. Upon realization of the targets 1., by the end of the 21st century the contribution of solar energy in the world energetics will increase up to 60 –70 %, and in the world electro-energetics up to 90 %. SES will be able to supply every human being on earth with electricity, heat and fuel for millions of years; and the total waste from energy systems will decrease to an ecologically acceptable level. REFERENCES 1. Strebkov, D.S. Renewable energy in the third millennium. «Energeticheskaya Politika.» 2001, No2, pp. 23–27 (in Russian). 2. Novak S. Photovoltaic in the world. Status and Future Trends. Chairman IEA PVPS. Seminar in PV Research & Technological Development in European Union. New Member and Candidate States. Warsaw, Poland 15 Nov. 2004. 3. Bezrukikh P.P., Strebkov D.S. et al. 2001 G8 Renewable Energy Task Force Chairmen‘s Report (61 pp); Chaimen’s Report Annexes (75 pp). Printed by the Italian Ministry of Environment, 2001. 4. Skrebkov, D.S. Renewable energetics: for developing countries or for Russia? «Energia: economika, tekhnica, ecologia.» 2002. № 9. pp. 311– 14. (in Russian). 5. Kashfraziev Yu. A. Wind power stations in Russia: luxury or energy source? «Energia: economika, tekhnica, ecologia.» 2004. № 10 pp. 34–39. (in Russian).

6. Skrebkov D.S,, Irodionov A.E. Global solar power system. Proc. Eurosun – 2004. 14 Intern. Sonnenforum. Freiburg, Germany. 2004. Vol. 2, pp. 336–343. 7. Tesla N. Electrical Transformer. U.S.A. patent № 593138, 02.11.1897. 8. Skrebkov D.S., Nekrasov A.I. Resonance methods of electrical energy transfer. M. VIESX. 2004 (in Russian). 9. Skrebkov D.S, Bezrukikh P.P. New ecologically clean energetic technologies. Proceedings of All Russia energetic forum 18–19 December 2002, pp. 95–98. (in Russian). 10. Skrebkov D.S, Zadde V.V., Shepovalova O.V. Vacuum glass packets for windows and solar collectors. Renewable Energy. March 2004. P.12. (in Russian). 11. Strebkov D.S., Zadde V.V., Pinov A.B., Touyryan K., Murphy L. Crystalline Silicon Technology in CIS countries. 11-th Workshop on Crystalline Silicon Solar Cell Materials and Process. Colorado, August 19–22, 2001, Extended abstracts and papers, NREL, 2001, pp. 199–207. 12. Strebkov D.S., Litvinov P.P., Tverianovich E.V. Research of functioning of a class of Vshaped stationary concentrators. Proc. Eurosun – 2004. 14 Intern. Sonnenforum. Freiburg, Germany. 2004. Vol. 2, pp. 3–072–3–078. 13. Strebkov D.S., Koshkin N.L. On development of Photovoltaic Power Engineering in Russia. «Thermal Engineering». 1996. Vol. 43. N. 5, pp. 381–384. 14. Tsuo Y.S. Touyryan K., Gee J.M., Strebkov D.S, Pinov A.B., Zadde V.V. Environmentally Benign Silicon Solar Cell Manufacturing. Proc. 2-nd World Conference and Exhibition on Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conversion. 6–10 July 1998. Vienna, Austria, pp. 1199–1204.

Demetrius S. Strebkov,

Doctor of technical sciences, professor. Graduated in 1959 from Moscow Institute of Mechanics and Electrification of Agriculture. Director of GNU VIESKh. Academician of RASKhN and RAEN. Active member of MSA. Chairman of Russian Section of International Society of Solar Energy. Deputy chairman of Russian Committee on utilization of renewed energy sources