Photovoltaic solar energy (PV) has demonstrated spectacular cost reduction and performance enhancement over the past decades. Cumulative global installations are expected to grow to the multi-terawatt level in the coming decades, making solar energy one of the most important sources of sustainable energy for mankind. The success of PV is driven by a combination of scientific breakthroughs, technology improvements and economies of scale over the entire value chain from materials to systems. This seminar will give an overview of the history, state of the art and expected future of PV and of the important drivers for further development. It will also highlight the remarkable role that the Netherlands plays in this field.