The third-generation of photovoltaics (PV) - organic PV (OPV) and dye sensitized
cells (DSC) - are in the early stages of development but hold out the promise
of cheap solar power that can be integrated into consumer electronics and building
materials, according to a Webinar presented this morning by NanoMarkets,
LC, an industry analyst firm based here. In the presentation, NanoMarkets discussed
the current state of the OPV and DSC materials markets and expectations for
the future of these technologies over the next eight years. The firm does expect
these technologies to be impacted by the current recessionary environment but
still sees growth opportunities.
The firm has released a CD ROM of the event with audio and presentation slides.
Please visit www.nanomarkets.net for further details.
More about the Webinar:
As background, the first two generations of PV are crystalline silicon (c-Si)
and thin-film inorganic PV (TFPV), which includes amorphous silicon (a-Si),
copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), and cadmium telluride (CdTe). The majority
of the PV market currently relies on c-Si (represents about 70 percent of the
overall global market). However, thin film technologies are gaining ground as
they offer solar cells that can be produced on flexible substrates. And while
these inorganic TFPV technologies address some of the issues associated with
c-Si, they still rely on expensive materials.
This is where OPV and DSC come in. The value proposition offered by third-generation
PV is the promise of significantly lower material costs combined with lower
manufacturing costs because these technologies can be adapted for high-speed
roll-to-roll (R2R) production. However, OPV and DSC are in the early stages
of development, and as such there is uncertainty around their ability to fulfill
this potential. On the other hand, this uncertainty brings opportunities to
To quantify this opportunity, NanoMarkets expects the market for materials
used in OPV and DSC cells to grow from $55.3 million this year, to about $576
million in 2016. By the end of the eight-year forecast period, most of the opportunity
will come from building integrated PV (BIPV) applications. OPV and DSC offer
a unique solution in BIPV because they are not only thin and flexible and therefore
can be combined with building materials, but they maintain efficiency conversion
at relatively low light conditions.
For the OPV device, NanoMarkets expects the majority of materials revenues
to come from the acceptor and donor materials, which will account for about
65 percent of the OPV material revenues by 2016. The second largest revenue
generator for OPV will be encapsulation materials, which will become more and
more important as these devices shift toward the use of plastic substrates.
For DSC devices, the host material will generate the majority of the revenues
from materials (80-85 percent by 2016), followed by encapsulation materials.
That being said, NanoMarkets expects to see relatively significant opportunities
for suppliers of encapsulation materials. These materials will be required to
prevent the device’s exposure to oxygen and water vapor, thus extending
the useful life of these devices. Current solutions rely on a second layer of
substrate or similar material, but this requires that the edges be sealed. An
alternate approach being offered by Vitex is an oxide/polymer multiple layer,
which is sold under the brand Barix.
This brings up an important point - the materials and process technologies
for OPV and DSC are in flux. As such, suppliers will have to take on a certain
amount of risk in committing to the production of one of these materials. One
way to ensure traction when these markets take off is to partner up with device
manufacturers early on. Suppliers must up with what the manufacturers are looking
for and establish themselves as competent and reliable providers which will
be paramount to retaining a lead as a materials supplier in these markets. At
the same time, suppliers must have the ability to ramp up to commercial volumes
when the time is right.
In conclusion, NanoMarkets sees some opportunity over the next eight years
for materials suppliers in the OPV and DSC space. And while the overall materials
market will be less than $600 million in 2016 the firm sees strategic reasons
for getting into this business.