Thin-film photovoltaics market to grow to $7.2 billion by 2015

Oct. 1, 2007
The world thin-film photovoltaics (TFPV) market is forecast to reach $7.2 billion by 2015, compared to just more than $1 billion today, according to a new report from NanoMarkets LC, an industry analyst firm in Glen Allen, Va.

The world thin-film photovoltaics (TFPV) market is forecast to reach $7.2 billion by 2015, compared to just more than $1 billion today, according to a new report from NanoMarkets LC, an industry analyst firm in Glen Allen, Va.

The market is being driven by the inherent advantages of TFPV, including low cost, low weight, and the ability to manufacture them on flexible substrates and embed solar power capabilities into walls, roofs, and even windows.

Unlike more conventional PV that uses crystalline silicon, TFPV also has the ability to operate under low-light conditions. The report notes that most manufacturers are ramping up production capacity to support the growing demand for TFPV.

Several manufacturers, in fact, are building plants with more than 100 megawatts in capacity. These companies include First Solar, Fuji Electric, Nanosolar, Sanyo, Uni-Solar, and G24i.

Because worldwide energy prices are rising fast and PV prices are falling quickly, PV will carve off a big slice of the energy market and could eventually account for as much as 20 percent of the U.S. market’s energy needs, the report states.

Because TFPV costs less than conventional PV, TFPV is most likely to take off first. Just a few years ago, TFPV was only five percent of the entire PV market, but it is expected to account for 35 percent of the photovoltaics market by 2015. PV also offers predictable pricing, something that fossil fuels cannot do.

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Conventional PV is expensive to make. By contrast, TFPV can be manufactured using simple printing or other R2R machines; the value of printed TFPV is expected to reach just over $3 billion by 2015. Printing PV has the potential for lowering capital costs by as much as 75 percent, reducing waste and increasing throughput.

The fact that TFPV is also much lighter than conventional PV and can be more easily applied to curved and non-planar surfaces, TFPV is easier to install on roofs and walls.

Where a lot of panels need to be installed on a roof, using TFPV reduces the likelihood that the roof will have to be specially reinforced. TFPV is also enabling windows that double as PV panels, making PV much more practical for buildings large and small.

PV based on organic materials offers hope for the future. They are more ecologically friendly than other PV approaches. Efficiencies of organic PV are also improving rapidly and new cell architectures promise that the performance of organic PV devices could come close to or possibly even exceed those of their purely inorganic counterparts. By 2015 NanoMarkets expects shipments of organic PV to reach 500 megawatts.

The NanoMarkets report analyzes the commercial opportunities for amorphous silicon, CIS/CIGS, CdTe, and organic/hybrid TFPV markets. It also examines the role that new encapsulation materials and transparent conductors and silicon inks will have on this market.

Applications for TFPV include large projects and utilities, commercial and industrial buildings, consumer electronics, and military and emergency response. The report also includes detailed eight-year forecasts of these markets, as well as profiles of all the leading firms developing and marketing this emerging technology and an assessment of the impact of TFPV on government funding and subsidies in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

Among the firms discussed in the report are Antec Solar, AVA Tech, BASF, Bosch, CDT, DayStar, Dow Corning, EPV, FEE, First Solar, Fuji Electric, Flexcell, G24i, Global Photonic Energy, Global Solar, Heliatek, HelioVolt, Honda, Innovalight, International Solar Electric Technologies, JNSOLAR, Kaneka, Konarka, Matsushita, Miasolé, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Nanosolar, PowerFilm, Sanyo, Schott Solar, Sharp, Shell Solar, Showa Shell, Seiko Epson, Sinonar, Solar Cells, Sulfurcell, Sumitomo, Sunset Energietechnik, Symmorphix, Terra Solar, Uni-Solar, and Würtz Solar.

For more information, contact NanoMarkets online at

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