30 November 2010

Thin-film PV material market to grow from $2.1bn in 2011 to $5.9bn in 2016

Despite the end of the silicon shortage and ongoing economic woes, the market for materials for thin-film photovoltaics (TFPV) applications will grow from $2.1bn in 2011 to $5.9bn in 2016, according to the report ‘Thin-Film Photovoltaics Materials Markets, 2011 and Beyond’ from NanoMarkets, which includes projections on material sales for thin-film silicon (TF Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe) and copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS) PVs, including the core absorber materials, electrodes, substrates and encapsulants.

NanoMarkets believes that, despite its maturity, TF Si PV will retain its competitiveness as the technology shifts toward tandem cells using microcrystalline silicon. Key beneficiaries of this shift will be silane (silicon tetrahydride, or SiH4) suppliers. Revenues from TF Si PV absorber materials will reach about $975m by 2016.

However, by 2016 the largest segment of the TFPV material sector will be CdTe absorber materials, reaching $1.6bn. This represents an important opportunity for suppliers of CdTe materials to qualify to supply the dominant CdTe panel maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which is increasingly in need of more materials sources. The growing use of tellurium also presents an opportunity for companies in the copper- and lead-refining industries, because Te is primarily a byproduct of refining these ores, notes NanoMarkets.

Despite the disappointments of the past, NanoMarkets sees product and manufacturing announcements over the past year as beginning to vindicate the CIGS story. Dow’s CIGS-based building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) product and the entry of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) into the CIGS area (after licensing technology from Stion) promise a better future for CIGS, the market research firm reckons. As a result, absorber materials sold for CIGS are expected to reach $610m by 2016. Where NanoMarkets sees hope in the CIGS space is in electro-deposition, which it says is well matched to improving the cost performance of CIGS in a ‘low demand’ economy.

The report also provides detailed profiles of the major firms influencing the TFPV space including: 5N Plus, Air Liquide, American Elements, Apollo Solar Energy, Applied Materials, Dow Corning, DuPont, Evonik, Indium Corporation, Linde, Oerlikon, Praxair, Redlen, Sputtering Materials, Ulvac, Umicore and Voltaix.

See related items:

CdTe to maintain lead over silicon in cost

Tags: Thin-film silicon CdTe CIGS

Visit: www.nanomarkets.net

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