Conventional bulk silicon based PV cells have been used since the 1960s and
have undergone substantial developments, however they are the most costly to
manufacture especially in light of the current worldwide silicon shortage. These
cells types accounted for more than 83 percent of the market share in 2007.
Thin-film PV cells have been evolving since the early 1970s, and organics PV
cells since the 1990s and accounted for about 17 percent of the total PV market
in 2007, making it one of the fast growing technologies in the whole of the
alternative energy sector. These cells are made by directly depositing photoactive
material onto a thin substrate, and are therefore much thinner and require less
material than conventional PV cells and offer increasing efficiencies. There
are several important thin-film PV cell types: amorphous silicon (a-Si); cadmium
telluride (CdTe); and copper indium diselenide/copper indium gallium diselenide
(CIS / CIGS), and also organic systems. In 2007, NREL demonstrated CIGS PV cells
with 19.9 percent efficiency, which is still very far from that reported by
University of Delaware researchers for crystalline silicon (42.8 percent), but
nonetheless demonstrates the tremendous potential for thin-film PV and its great
applicability in many applications.
Key drivers enabling the development and use of organic and thin-film PV cells
include government programs, silicon costs and availability.
The current main thin-film PV technologies accounted for about 17 percent of
the total PV market in 2007, and this is expected to increase to more than 32
percent (about 4 GW) by 2013. A number of activities being carried out by organizations
in the PV sector are helping the development of this emerging market.
The prospects for organic-based PV devices are continuing to improve as development
gets closer to commercialization, and an efficiency of 8-10 percent is likely
in the foreseeable future. The success of organic and thin-film PVs will depend
on their ability to be cost-competitive when compared with existing electrical
sources such as rigid PVs and batteries, and with emerging technologies such
as fuel cells.
Thin-film PV cells based on crystalline and amorphous silicon, CdTe, and CIGS
are in various phases of manufacture, and it is expected that they will achieve
the cost reductions needed to compete directly with the other forms of energy.
These reductions will become more significant when thin-film technologies are
produced directly on building materials such as tiles and bricks.
PV applications can be roughly divided into three categories, those involving:
power generation installations, conventional electronics and disposable electronics.
For the large-scale applications of PV in both building installed PV, rural
electrification and irrigation pumps projects PV manufacturing costs must be
reduced by at least a factor of two. As production costs decline, demand for
PV electricity will outstrip system supply.
Key Topics Covered:
Executive Summary Chapter 1: Introduction and Methodology Chapter 2: PV Technology
and Developer Overview Chapter 3: Thin-Film PV Materials and Properties: Developer's
Positioning Chapter 4: Manufacturing Overview Chapter 5: Commercial Applications
Chapter 6: Worldwide Market outlook Chapter 7: Ongoing R&D and Development
Trends by Product Segment Chapter 8: Key Findings in this Report Chapter 9:
Leading Photovoltaic Material and Cell Suppliers