Thin Film 2010: Market Outlook to 2015


From only 17 megawatts in 2002 to nearly 1 gigawatt in 2008 (a compounded annualized growth rate of 96%), thin film’s rise over the last decade has been remarkable indeed. The search for alternative technologies to traditional crystalline silicon PV has led to a tidal wave of investment and entrepreneurial activity in thin film, with 170 active companies and over $2 billion in VC investment in the space. However, as of 2010, only two thin film companies have produced in excess of 100 MW annually. The cost structure of most amorphous silicon, considering its low efficiency, is barely competitive with crystalline silicon, and CIGS producers have encountered technical issues in manufacturing that have forced most of them to delay commercial production, a situation which has persisted since 2007. To make matters more difficult, capital constraints led banks and developers to shy away from thin film in favor of more mature and abundant crystalline silicon modules for projects in 2009. First Solar aside, one would have to admit that the results in the thin film space have yet to live up to the talk. As Asian crystalline silicon PV producers continue to ramp down costs and increase capacity beyond the gigawatt level, the question must be asked: will results ever meet expectations, and if so, when? In other words, will thin film fulfill its potential and make meaningful inroads into the solar energy landscape, creating new markets in the process? Or will it be relegated to a bit-player role in the growth of the global PV market?

This 200-page report peels away the layers of hype and speculation that have traditionally shrouded thin-film PV to provide the most comprehensive, granular, and objective assessment of the space available to date. Packed with data points, color, and analysis, Thin Film 2010 assesses thin film’s impact on the global PV market by analyzing all relevant factors that influence demand for thin film, and how these factors interact when determining technology selection in PV markets.

This Comprehensive Report Includes:

  • Manufacturing processes
  • Technology/operational characteristics (efficiency, substrates, temperature coefficient, area footprint, weight, spectral response, kWh/kW performance)
  • Module costs, prices, gross margins, and balance-of-system costs
  • Feasibility by market application
  • Capacity and production estimates
  • Market share and market sizing estimates
  • Bankability and risk analysis
  • Comprehensive summarization and analysis of 2009 events and developments
  • Detailed, insightful profiles of the top 65 global thin film companies in the market

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