Friday, April 06, 2007

Thin Film Solar Modules


The combination of better materials, the evolution of thin-film transistor technology, and new production methods is establishing thin-film and organic photovoltaics as a hot area for investment. Recent market forecast and analysis carried out by my firm NanoMarkets LC, indicates that revenues from PV modules that use materials such as thin-film amorphous silicon, CIS/CIGS, cadmium telluride, small molecules, polymers or organic dyes will reach $2.3 billion by 2011. Meanwhile, at least one thin-film PV firm is already attempting to raise investment valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars and all this activity may have finally refuted the old complaint against the PV industry that it does not invest enough in R&D.

Why is thin-film PV taking off now? It has been around for more than a decade and until quite recently its main claim to fame has been as the key enabler for solar powered calculators. Today, however, thin-film is benefiting from a "perfect storm" of market drivers. Solar power of all kinds is attracting considerable interest, because of high prices and dire predictions for continued reliance on fossil fuels. And thin-film PV is getting particular attention, in part, because it gets around the current shortage of silicon that the traditional PV market is currently experiencing.

But even perfect storms pass. The shortage of silicon is certainly not a forever kind of thing and it would be no surprise to see some of the current investor enthusiasm for alternative energy begin to fade as oil prices stabilize and more efficient ways of extracting and using fossil fuels are developed.

Nonetheless, even such short-term drivers can have long-term implications. If the current interest in thin-film and organic PV leaves manufacturers flush with cash, then they will be able to invest in new production technology and that will push up all-important conversion efficiencies and reduce costs per watt. Trends have been encouraging in this regard. CIGS, for example, now has efficiencies that are fairly comparable to crystalline silicon PV. Most of the thin-film PV firms we talked with for the NanoMarkets report were claiming recent improvements in production technology that were leading to higher throughputs and higher yields or both. This is critical because one of the reasons that thin-film PV has not taken off in the way that it was first hoped is that the production processes being used for this type of technology have added costs that have all but removed the advantages that thin-film materials were capable of offering intrinsically.

A radically new direction for creating PV is represented by printing. "Printing" in this case, may mean either traditional printing technologies that have been associated with graphics printing for decades or centuries. Or it may mean ink-jet printing. Not all materials lend themselves to this approach, though. It is particularly associated with organic materials. However, at least one firm is pursuing the goal of a silicon ink. Printing will supposedly bring down the cost of PV in a radical new way, ultimately resulting in orders of magnitude and improvements in cost per watt.
Lower costs are likely to play a role in driving thin-film into the numerous markets already served by PV -- everything from power for emergency medical facilities to power for boats. However, when one examines the cost advantages of thin-film PV over traditional PV and balances them against efficiency and material stability, it is hard to conclude that marketers in this space should stress cost alone. Instead, our research in this area suggests that what will drive the thin-film PV market as much as anything else is its unique characteristics in terms of flexibility, weight and ability to integrate into other products.

This helps explain why so many of the thin-film PV firms are focused on building products into which PV is integrated. Not only are the trinity of flexibility, weight and integration-ease likely to be key performance factors required by the integrated building products market, but the potential size of this market is large in terms energy consumption, which translates into many square feet of solar modules sold. Similar considerations also apply to the use of thin-film PV in the military and emergency systems market. Light, flexible and easily integrated product attributes work well here too. But the target market is much lower than for the integrated building market. This may be offset somewhat by the value placed on PV for these products and the willingness of customers to pay a premium for products.

The most controversial issue is whether PV will be able to address the burgeoning need for power in mobile electronics. As more and more features are added to cell phones and as end users expect notebook computers to offer about the same performance levels as desktop computers, improvements in energy density expected from the standard lithium-ion batteries now used ubiquitously in mobile devices are being strained. PV battery boosters and chargers therefore now look like an attractive addressable market and could only be built from thin-film or organic materials, not from crystalline silicon. Thin-film battery boosters and chargers have existed for some time, but have tended to be expensive low-volume products aimed at the emergency medical, military and similar markets. What appears to be needed now is a very low cost product that might even be integrated directly into cell phones, for example.


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Howdy would you mind letting me know which hosting company you're
working with? I've loaded your blog in 3 different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.
Can you recommend a good internet hosting provider at a
reasonable price? Thank you, I appreciate it!

My homepage - download Minecraft Pocket Edition

Anonymous said...

Thanks very interesting blog!

Feel free to visit my web page; no credit car loans orlando FL

Anonymous said...

Hello, Neat post. There is a problem with your site in web
explorer, may check this? IE still is the marketplace chief annd a goood
section of folks will pass overr your wonderful writing due
to this problem.

Herre is my web blog best chinchilla cage, ,

mao yun said...

5
kobe 9 shoes
ray ban sunglasses
valentino shoes
giuseppe zanotti
abercrombie and fitch
longchamp handbags
burberry handbags
snapback hats wholesale
tod's sale
insanity max 30
instyler
pandora jewelry
timberland boots
links of london jewellery
michael kors outlet online
ray ban sunglasses
kate spade outlet
links of london uk
nba jerseys
cheap oakley sunglasses
cheap snapbacks
toms shoes
swarovski jewelry
hollister clothing
converse outlet
coach outlet store
polo lacoste pas cher
cheap oakley sunglasses
babyliss pro
nfl jerseys
adidas outlet
louis vuitton outlet uk
kate spade handbags
karen millen dresses
herve leger sale
michael kors outlet online sale
pandora charms
air jordan shoes
adidas shoes
thomas sabo uk
20150325maoqiuyun

Weiming Zhu said...

baltimore ravens jerseys
denver broncos jerseys
chicago bulls jersey
cleveland cavaliers jersey
golden state warriors jerseys
los angeles lakers jerseys
oklahoma city thunder jerseys
san antonio spurs jerseys
new york knicks jersey
miami heat jersey
boston celtics jersey
los angeles clippers jerseys
koby bryant shoes
lebron james shoes
chanel handbags
tory burch outlet
coach outlet
coach outlet canada
oakley sunglasses canada
michael kors uk
michael kors uk
michael kors uk
cheap soccer jerseys
cheap football shirts
futbol baratas
real madrid jersey
barcelona jersey
chelsea jersey
manchester united jersey
custom mlb jerseys
nike huarache
nike air max uk
nike free uk
nike trainers
ralph lauren uk
ugg uk
christian louboutin uk
swarovski uk
rolex watches uk
mulberry uk
nike roshe

Qing Cai said...

ralph lauren outlet
michael kors outlet uk
miami dolphins jerseys
cheap oakley sunglasses
pandora
green bay packers jerseys
mlb jerseys
abercrombie and fitch
polo ralph lauren outlet
hollister uk
indianapolis colts jerseys
burberry outlet online
discount oakley sunglasses
mcm bags
prada shoes
cheap mlb jerseys
mizuno running
fred perry polo shirts
michael kors outlet
beats headphones
christian louboutin outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
seattle seahawks jerseys
oakland raiders jerseys
hollister
oakley sunglasses
mont blanc
ed hardy t-shirts
air max 90
tiffany and co
nfl jerseys
mcm handbags
michael kors uk
abercrombie and fitch
lebron james shoes
burberry handbags
oakley sunglasses
cai2015627

Hua Cai said...

ralph lauren outlet
burberry outlet
herve leger dresses
reebok shoes
louis vuitton bags cheap
cartier outlet store
michael kors outlet uk
louis vuitton pas cher
ray-ban sunglasses
ray ban sunglasses
michael kors handbags
true religion outlet
tory burch outlet online
kate spade uk
oakley sunglasses
michael kors uk
coach outlet online
cheap nba jerseys
louis vuitton bags
nike air force 1
ralph lauren,polo ralph lauren,ralph lauren outlet,ralph lauren italia,ralph lauren sito ufficiale
coach outlet
soccer jerseys
basketball shoes
chrome hearts
michael kors outlet clearance
louboutin pas cher
kate spade handbags
nike huarache
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors handbags outlet
burberry outlet online
tory burch outlet
tiffany outlet
true religion jeans
20160528caihuali

xumeiqing said...

2016718meiqing
michael kors outlet
uggs
adidas supercolor
nike air max
discount ray ban sunglasses
louis vuitton handbags
jimmy choo shoes
kate spade outlet
puma shoes
christian louboutin shoes
nike air max sale
adidas shoes uk
polo ralph lauren
michael kors outlet
fitflop shoes
true religion
new balance outlet
michael kors handbags
mont blanc pens
moncler outlet
adidas superstar
moncler outlet
jordan pas cher
asics outlet
ralph lauren outlet
hugo boss outlet
coach factory outlet
polo ralph lauren
toms shoes
yeezy boost 350
prada sunglasses
toms outlet
basketball shoes
cheap oakley sunglasses
coach outlet
kate spade
air jordans

New and Renewable Energy

New and Renewable Energy
Your source for the New and Renewable Energy News and Technologies