In this work the technical progress made in the past several years in the area of single and multijunction crystalline, polycrystalline and thin film solar cell technologies based on Si, II-VI, III-V and I-III-VI semiconductors are reviewed. Furthermore, future of photovoltaic technologies are discussed and compared with present technologies. Solar energy is one of the most attractive types of renewable energy that identified for sustainable providing of future energy requirements of the world which has already been deployed around the world. At the moment photovoltaic market is growing rapidly by 30-40 % per year like computers and telecommunication. As photovoltaic technologies progress from 1st and 2nd generations (wafer and thin films) towards the 3rd generation (advanced thin films based solar cells, for instance hetero structure and multijunction thin film solar cells) solar cells modules currently under development may present a different performance from the present ones. This paper at first described the 1st and 2nd generations of photovoltaic technologies consist of technical progress (migration of crystalline solar cell technology from Si, to GaAs then to the multiple junction devices that used today), advantages, limitations and rate of power that produced during the past decade. Afterward the 3rd generation of solar cell is investigated. In this part the structure of advanced thin film solar cell is studied and shown that how disadvantage of 1st and 2nd generation of solar cells is eliminated in this generation. GaAs and Si single crystalline solar cell performed high efficiency and good reliability closed to theoretical calculation. Polycrystalline and single Si solar cells still remain the dominant photovoltaic technology at the present. The cost of these kind of solar cells is rather high. Thin film solar cell was developed substantially for reducing the cost of solar cells. Remarkable development has been achieved in efficiency and fabrication technology of thin film solar cells for recent years. This paper has provided a technological and economical perspective on past and future of photovoltaic solar cells.

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