By November 24, 2015 Read More →

Silicon shortage, growing solar demand fueling huge growth in thin films

Conversion efficiency will rise from current 7% to 14% to 9% to 17% in next 3-4 years

thin films

Source: BCC Research,

WELLESLEY, MA – A silicon shortage and the growing demand for PV modules are key factors fueling growth in thin film PV manufacturing, according to a new report from BCC Research.

The study shows that the technical benefits of thin film PV such as flexibility and better performance in low-light conditions are driving adoption of the technology.

Rising energy costs and climate change concerns are driving formidable interest in renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies.

Continuous advancements in the field of PV, along with significant cost reductions, are driving further adoption of such technologies.

“In the current scenario the thin film market is dominated by building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) applications,” says BCC Research analyst Abhigyan Gupta.

“In BIPV applications, CdTe cells occupy the majority of the market due to a conversion efficiency of 10.7% which makes them suitable for this application. Improvements in conversion efficiency from the current 7% to 14% will increase to 9% to 17% in the next three to four years is the main area of interest in the industry.”

Although demand for crystalline silicon PV cells has increased in recent years, their low efficiency and high manufacturing cost have compelled the industry to search for alternate and cheaper cells with high conversion efficiencies.

The global market for thin films in energy applications is projected to reach almost $19.7 billion and $84.1 billion in 2015 and 2020, respectively, reflecting a five-year annual compound growth rate (CAGR) of 33.7%. The thin films market has evolved during recent few years alongside developments in the electronics and semiconductor industries.

thin films

Rooftop solar power panels

Photovoltaics (PV) is the major technology that historically has made the most use of thin films, and today dominates the market, accounting for more than 85% of the market share. The thin film batteries market, though smaller in size, is expected to witness robust growth during the forecast period

Asia-Pacific, the major regional market, accounts for more than 45% of the global thin film market. This region should grow at a 32.3% CAGR, buoyed by manufacturers shifting production toward the region due to availability of raw materials and increasing demand. China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and India are the major manufacturers of thin film in Asia-Pacific.

Crystalline silicon and thin film PV cells are the most commonly used PV cells in the industry. Although crystalline silicon PV cells dominate the market, thin film PV cells have also started gaining more importance. Crystalline silicon PV cells currently total about 80% of total market share, but this figure should drop over the forecast period due to a shortage of silicon and high manufacturing costs.


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