Report: Solar photovoltaics materials could be billion dollar opportunity

Glen Allen, Va., December 15, 2009 – After the shakeout of the solar thin-film photovoltaics industry this year, industry-analysis firm NanoMarkets LC, sees a resumption of growth occurring in 2010, creating opportunities for materials firms of all kinds.

According to NanoMarkets’ recent report on photovoltaic materials, consumption of these materials is now expected to rise to $13.1 billion by 2017.

Key points:

CIGS and CdTe have always been sensitive to the atmosphere, especially when used in flexible solar cells. However, new kinds of encapsulation materials are now opening up the market for CIGS and CdTe in flexible BIPV applications.

The biggest news here has been the announcements during 2009 of suitable polymer/ceramic dyad films from Dow Chemical, FujiFilm, DuPont and 3M. By 2017, sales of photovoltaic encapsulation materials are expected to reach $1.6 billion.

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The thin-film industry is rapidly moving away from the use of ITO as a transparent conductor. The big beneficiaries in this move will be zinc oxide and tin oxide, whose use is expected to bring major cost savings for the industry.

By 2017, almost 90 percent of the transparent conductor material used by the photovoltaic industry is expected to be zinc oxide or tin oxide.

Sputtering is in decline for TFPV manufacturing, primarily because of the material wastage. Printing is on the increase, but the true unsung hero of TFPV manufacturing is electrodeposition which is rapidly growing and proving itself worthy of widespread use. By 2017, TFPV absorber materials that are either printed or electrodeposited will amount to almost $300 million.

NanoMarkets’ new report, “Materials Markets for Thin-Film Photovoltaics: 2010 to 2017” provides an analysis of the commercial opportunities for materials used in thin-film PV. The coverage comprises the absorber layer, electrode, substrate, encapsulation and other materials used for CIGS, CdTe and thin-film silicon PV.

The report includes detailed eight-year forecasts of thin-film materials broken out by applications and chemistry, as well as reviews of the latest research and the corporate strategies of firms active in the sector.

NanoMarkets tracks and analyzes emerging market opportunities in energy and electronics markets created by developments in advanced materials. The firm has published numerous reports related to organic, thin film and printable electronics materials and applications.


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