6 February 2012

CIGS PV panel market to grow rapidly to $4.4bn by 2017

Revenues from copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) panels will reach $4.4bn by 2017, forecasts ‘CIGS Photovoltaics Markets – 2012’, the latest in an ongoing series of reports on CIGS solar markets from industry analyst firm NanoMarkets.  

However, while the recent announcement of a 150MW solar farm supports the notion that CIGS technology is finally ready for prime time, CIGS manufacturers will have to adopt new strategies to protect themselves from falling solar panel prices, notes NanoMarkets.

To meet the challenge of very low-cost crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar panels, CIGS will need to continue to improve on its cost per watt, reckons the firm. NanoMarkets expects CIGS to succeed in this regard through volume production and manufacturing efficiencies such as thinner absorber layers and aggressive recycling of absorber materials. CIGS can also compete with c-Si based on superior aesthetics and good performance in indirect light.

NanoMarkets believes that reducing the cost of encapsulation is the key to success for flexible CIGS panels, which will generate more than $635m of the market by 2017. Current use of complex dyadic film encapsulation is proving very expensive, and the report suggests that there may be some potential for lowering costs by using overcoats of silicon nitride, silicon oxide, and/or silicon oxynitride before final module encapsulation. Also, the CIGS industry will embrace low-cost advanced plastic substrates as a replacement for polyimide, forecasts the report.

The analyst firm also believes that CIGS manufacturing will take new directions resulting in higher efficiencies and lower costs. Laser annealing of the absorber layer will become more common and will enable more thermally sensitive substrates to be used. However, before this can happen, the cost of laser annealing equipment will need to be reduced.

NanoMarkets also foresees solution-based deposition as playing a growing role in the creation of CIGS panels based on new types of solvents. In the past, this type of approach has suffered as the result of high levels of impurities in the materials, says the firm. However, hydrazine is now proposed as a solvent system for solution-based deposition, and has shown promising results in the lab. This new approach seems likely to considerably improve CIGS efficiency, the firm concludes.

Applications sectors covered in the report include rigid panels (conventional and BIPV), flexible PV, portable PV and building-integrated PV (BIPV) glass.  The report also includes in-depth analysis of the latest trends in CIGS manufacturing and the market impact. Eight-year forecasts - including both revenue and volume (MW) - are broken out by application sector and by type of deposition/ manufacturing. The report also discusses the strategies of key suppliers of both CIGS panels and materials.  

Tags: CIGS PV panel

Visit: www.nanomarkets.net

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