The market for thin-film solar PV is expected to register a CAGR of 23.02% during the forecast period of 2020 – 2025.
- Factors, such as low PV module prices and technological advancements made to improve the efficiency of thin-film solar cells, are the major drivers of the market studied. However, as thin-film panels require a larger area than alternative types of solar PV modules, the mere size of the system negatively affects the cost-effectiveness of the thin-film PV module systems, as the panel output losses offset less installation cost due to lower efficiencies. This factor, in turn, is expected to hinder the growth of the market studied.
- Globally, the photovoltaic (PV) solar cells based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) represent the largest segment of commercial thin-film module production as it is a lower-cost alternative to conventional silicon-based technologies.
- Tariffs on Imported Solar Cells (c-Si) and Modules in the United States is expected to create an ample opportunity for thin-film manufacturers.
- Asia-Pacific dominated the market across the world with the majority of the demand coming from the countries, such as China, and Japan.
Key Market Trends
Cadmium-Telluride (CdTe) Thin Film Solar Cells to Dominate the Market
- Cadmium-Telluride (CdTe) thin film solar cells can be manufactured at low costs, as cadmium can be generated as a byproduct of mining, smelting, and refining of zinc, lead, and copper.
- This photovoltaic technology uses cadmium telluride, which enables the production of solar cells at a relatively low cost. Of all solar energy technologies, this is the only one that requires the least amount of water for production.
- CdTe thin film PV solar cells have higher cell efficiencies up to 16.7% than other thin film technologies.
- The United States is a global leader in CdTe PV manufacturing. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has been at the forefront of research and development (R&D) in this area.
- In 2018, CdTe generated electricity at considerable cost that is less than or equal to traditional fossil-fuel energy sources. It has a scope for further improvement.
Asia-Pacific to Dominate the Market
- Asia-Pacific has accounted for the major share in the thin film solar PV market, owing to the increasing deployment of solar PV modules in utility-scale, commercial, and residential applications.
- China is one of the largest solar PV markets in the world, accounting for about 50% of global solar power demand in 2018. Thin film solar PVs are majorly being used in utility-scale projects in China.
- In 2018, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) had written a draft policy that would increase the renewable energy target from 20% to 35%, by 2030. Around 40 GW of new renewable capacity are expected to be connected to the grid in 2019, with around 50% of the new capacity expected to come from large-scale solar plants. The remaining share is expected to come from smaller and decentralized systems.
- In 2018, the events organizing committee of Japan announced that it wanted to power the Tokyo Olympic Games exclusively through renewable energy. Organizers are also planning to purchase renewable energy from power companies, and to install solar panels wherever it is possible. As a part of this, the committee is making plans to build a number of solar roads made of thin film polycrystalline silicon to generate some of the power used by the 2020 games. This, in turn, is expected to boost the demand for thin film solar PV in the short term.
- With factors, such as the upcoming utility-scale project, along with supportive policies and subsidies, the thin-film solar PV is expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period.
The thin film solar PV market is partially consolidated. Some of the major companies include First Solar Inc., SolarPower Systems Inc., Kaneka Corporation, Solar Frontier K.K., and NanoPV Solar Inc.
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