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NanoMarkets: Thin-film photovoltaics market up for rosy growth

Posted: 10 Aug 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:thin-film photovoltaics market? solar cells? solar power? green energy?

The thin-film photovoltaics (TFPVs) market will hit $7.2 billion by 2015, up from $1 billion this year, reports NanoMarkets LC.

Driving the market are the inherent advantages of TFPV. Aside from being low cost and low weight, TFPVs can be manufactured on flexible substrates and solar power capabilities can be embedded into walls, roofs and even windows, explained NanoMarkets. Unlike more conventional photovoltaics (PV) that uses crystalline silicon, TFPV can operate under low light conditions.

In support of the growing demand for TFPV, companies are now ramping up production capacity and are building plants with more than 100MW in capacity including First Solar, Fuji Electric, Nanosolar, Sanyo, Uni-Solar and G24I, noted NanoMarkets.

Due to the rapid rise in energy prices and plunging PV prices, the PV segment 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. Since TFPV costs less than conventional PV, TFPV is most likely to take off first. The TFPVs segment will account for 35 percent of the total PV market by 2015, up from five percent a few years ago, said nanoMarkets. Moreover, PV also offers predictable pricing, something that fossil fuels cannot do.

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

TFPV is also easier to install on roofs and walls as it is also much lighter than conventional PV and can be more easily applied to curved and non-planar surfaces. In cases 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 also enables windows that double as PV panels, making PV much more practical for buildings large and small.

PVs based on organic materials also offer hope for a greener future. Such 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, shipments of organic PV will reach 500MW.

Applications for TFPV include large projects and utilities, commercial and industrial buildings, consumer electronics and military and emergency.

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