The polymer solar cells market is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 2.5% during 2020 - 2025. The primary drivers for the market include the increasing deployment of solar energy, on account of supportive government initiatives and targets to incorporate renewable energy as a source for alternative energy and to reduce the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emission rate. However, the lower efficiency of the polymer solar cells as compared to silicon solar cells is expected to hinder the market growth during the forecasting period.
- Technological advantages of polymer solar cells are likely to drive the market during the forecast period
- With the targets to reduce greenhouse emissions in the coming years, countries across the globe are developing various technologies to mitigate climate change. The United States is expected to increase its solar energy share in the country’s electricity generation from 2% in 2018 to 20% in 2030. With rapid developments and technological advantages over silicon PV, polymer solar cells have the opportunity to replace existing silicon PV technology, primarily in developed nations where new technology adoption takes less time than the developing countries.
- Owing to the deployment rate of polymer solar cells, Europe is expected to dominate the market during the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
Technological Advancements to Drive the Market
- Polymer solar cell, also called Organic Photovoltaic (OPV) are third-generation PV cells which use an organic polymer layer to convert light into electricity. Polymer solar cells are lightweight, flexible, customizable, and have a less adverse environmental impact.
- In 2019, global solar PV technology has a total installed capacity of around 580 gigawatts (GW). With rapid emerging PV technology in recent years, the polymer solar cells achieved an efficiency of about 16% in 2019. In order to further increase efficiency, various organizations with different molecular structures are performing intensive research and are expected to penetrate into the solar PV market in the near future.
- The polymer solar cells have few advantages over silicon solar cells, like lighter on weight, cheaper in cost, transparent and have a longer lifetime (greater than 5000 hrs), but due to its low energy conversion, efficient commercial applications are very much limited.
- As per Solarmer Energy Inc, the present state of polymer solar cells is estimated to improve over time and technological improvement, which is expected to provide efficient polymer molecular structure and would lead the solar panel industry in the coming years.
Europe is Likely to Dominate the Market
- Europe is one of the prominent regions, with around 138.2 gigawatts of solar PV installations as of 2019. With technological advancements, the region is doing various research on achieving cheaper and flexible solar panels, which can be installed on multiple surfaces.
- Companies like Heliatek GmbH and OPVIUS GmbH are developing polymer solar cells and have demonstrated few projects in the region.
- The largest polymer or organic solar cells project was in France. It called the BiOPV (building Integrated Organic Photovoltaic). The project includes the installation of organic photovoltaic in the roof of around 500 square meters that generate nearly 23.8 MWh of electricity.
- As of 2019, few other R&D projects are going on in the region. Industrial roll-to-roll (R2R) printing of highly efficient non-fullerene acceptor (NFA) based organic photovoltaics (OPV) by OPVIUS GmbH is one of the prominent ones. Completion of R&D in various sectors and various application is expected to expand the market in the region during the upcoming years.
- Apart from Europe, the United States’ National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has done various research on polymer solar cells, which is like develop the technology in the North American region as well.
The polymer solar cells market is consolidated. Some of the key players in the market include Eni SpA, NanoFlex Power Corporation, Infinity PV, OPVIUS GmbH, Heliatek GmbH, and Solarmer Energy Inc.
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