Thin-film Photovoltaics will see massive revenue increase

A report from NanoMarkets has forecast that thin-film photovoltaics (TFPV) materials revenues will reach $5.9 billion in 2016.

The report has shown that despite the end of the silicon shortage and the economic downturn across the globe the TFPV market will generate nearly three times the $2.1 million revenue seen in 2011.  The report focuses on projections for material sales of thin film silicon (TF Si) and cadmium telluride (CdTe) and Copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS).

It is thought that TF Si PV will retain its competitiveness as the technology shifts towards using tandem cells using microcrystalline silicon. The key beneficiaries of this shift will be silane suppliers, with TF Si PV absorber materials revenues reaching $975 million by 2016.

The largest segment of the TFPV material sector is however thought to be CdTe absorber materials which are predicted to see revenues in the region of $1.6 billion.  According to NanoMarkets this represents an opportunity for suppliers of CdTe materials to qualify as a supplier to the dominant CdTe panel maker, First Solar, which is facing a growing shortage of material shortages. 

Similarly the increasing use of tellurium offers an opportunity for firms in the copper and lead refining industry as the material is a byproduct of refining these ores.   

With product and manufacturing announcements over the past year, things are also believed to be looking up for CIGS.  NanoMarkets says that Dow’s CIGS based BIPV product and TSMC’s entry into the CIGS area promises a better future for CIGS, and as a result absorber materials sold into this space are expected to reach $610 million by 2016.

NanoMarket believes that there is hope for CIGS in electrodeposition, which it says is well matched to improving the cost performance of CIGS in a “low demand” economy.