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Report Examines Opportunities for Various Metals in the Photovoltaics Industry

Published on June 24, 2009 at 8:09 AM

NanoMarkets, a leading industry analyst based here, today announced the release of "Indium Markets for Photovoltaics." This report is one of a series of "Metals in PV" reports examining opportunities for various metals in the photovoltaics industry. This report contains an analysis and market projections of indium-containing sputtering targets, nanoparticle-based inks, salts for electrodeposition and other related materials based on NanoMarkets' ongoing research on materials used in photovoltaics (PV). Further details about the report are available at www.nanomarkets.net.

The consumption of indium by the PV industry will grow ten-fold over the next eight years--a growth rate that is faster than that expected for the display industry, which is the dominant user of indium. NanoMarkets' research suggests that the quantity of indium used for photovoltaics will reach over 228 metric tons (MT) in 2016.

Driving this growth is the shift away from traditional crystalline silicon (c-Si) PV toward thin-film PV (TFPV) technologies, in particular copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) PV. Of the approximately 20 tons of indium currently consumed annually by the PV industry, more than half of it is used for the absorber layer of CIGS PV cells. NanoMarkets expects CIGS' portion of PV-consumed indium to rise to over 80 percent by 2016, while CIGS PV cells will still represent only eight percent of PV megawatts.

NanoMarkets also expects a move away from vacuum deposition methods currently used to manufacture CIGS PV cells to electrodeposition and printing with inks. This will impact the type of indium materials used. The relative consumption of sputtering targets and evaporation slugs will decrease in favor of indium salts for electrodeposition and nanoparticles of indium, indium selenide, and indium oxide for inks. NanoMarkets expects printing and electrodeposition to represent close to 28 percent, or 52.3 MT, of the total indium consumption for CIGS PV in 2016.

While CIGS is the largest consumer of indium in the PV industry, ITO is also used as the transparent electrode in several of the TFPV technologies. NanoMarkets research suggests that indium consumption for ITO in the PV industry will grow from 13 MT in 2011, to 39.4 MT in 2016.

The continuing hyper-growth in the PV industry combined with the expectation that CIGS PV will take a more prominent position within this industry will create a new demand pool for indium. This report provides more on how this growth will occur and what this will mean for indium producers. The report focuses on traditional indium, but will also discuss the use of newer materials such as indium-containing composites. The report begins with a review of the state of the PV industry and then goes into indium's current and potential roles in each of the PV segments. Finally, the report quantifies the opportunities for indium in the PV space through an eight-year forecast.

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