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Polycrystalline supply to push thin film solar growth

Posted: 08 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar cell? thing film market? polycrystalline material?

The global solar cell market is expected to exhibit a breathtaking growth from a market volume of 5.6GW in 2008 to 79.5 GW in 2015. The market for the materials required will grow accordingly, but not all materials will benefit in equal measure.

According to a study from The Information Network, thin film solar cells will gain share within the total solar cell market. The linchpin will be the polysilicon supply. Recent market trends seem to favor the solar cell industry since the demand from its competitor on the silicon market, the semiconductor industry, currently lags behind expectations.

"Ample supplies of polycrystalline material with significant higher efficiencies will dominate the market and keep thin film technology to less than one-third of the market in 2015," commented Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network.

This means that thin film technologies nevertheless will grow disproportionately fast. While currently they make up 14.4 percent of the volume produced, this share will double to 30.5 percent in 2015. Copper Indium (Gallium) Diselenide materials will grow even faster, from currently 2.8 percent to 13.2 percent of the total market. Cadmium Telluride will raise its share from 2.5 percent currently to 8.1 percent in 2015. The usage of amorphous silicon will shrink relatively from 8.8 percent to 7.1 percent. Against the background of the fast total market growth, this relative decrease however still translates into a strong growth in absolute figures.

For the nanomaterial market, The Information Network sees usage primarily in the CIGS sector (Copper, Indium, Gallium, Sulphide). "We see minimal use in the a-Si (amorphous silicon) and the CdTe (Cadmium Telluride) market", added Castellano. Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) will utilize nanomaterials, but with current efficiencies of only 3 to 5 percent, they are not cost-competitive in the near term." For 2010 already, the expert expects improvements in cell construction, by eliminating volatile organic components which will give rise to the entry of competitive products on the market, he said.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times

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