University of Southern California The USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering

Solar Photovoltaic Power 

Solar power is a created by capturing the suns radiant energy and converting it into electricity and can be done through the use of photovoltaics (PV) or solar concentrating systems. PVs are solar cells made up of molecular and polymeric semiconducting materials that, when hit by light, absorb photons which disturb the electrons in the solar cell producing an electric current.

The USC solar project has, at its base, a DoE Energy Frontiers Research Center for Emerging Materials for Solar Energy Conversion and Solid State Lighting (EFRC). This Center will develop new forms of PV materials by bringing together materials scientists, chemists, electrical engineers and physicists.

The invention of new solar cell technologies will reduce the overall cost and increase the efficiency of existing solar technologies. Currently, the EFRC is working on using a low energy process to synthesize PV materials based on nanostructured semiconductors, organic semiconductors, and hybrid structures. The goal is to fabricate these thin photovoltaic structure designs on low cost substrates that will have long term performance potential.


  • Enable photovoltaic energy conversion to become a significant portion of the world's electricity infrastructure.
  • Reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of photovoltaic materials.
  • Create new light emitting device technologies for flat panel displays and general illumination.


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