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Thin Film Photovoltaics Market, 2017 - 2030

  • June 2017
  • 356 pages
  • Roots Analysis Private Ltd.
Report ID: 5015371

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INTRODUCTION
The renewable energy industry has witnessed an unprecedented growth in the last few years, owing to the increasing energy demand and concerted efforts to prevent environmental damage. Factors, such as increasing population, advances in technology, rapid industrialization in emerging markets (such as India and China), rising standard of living, and globalization are driving the global demand. In fact, the global economy is predicted to grow three folds between now and 2050; this is anticipated to create a significant increase in demand for energy around the world. It is well known that, owing to the detrimental effects of non-renewable sources on the environment, the focus has shifted towards renewable energy sources. Amongst the available energy sources, non-renewables (including fossil fuels and nuclear energy) have a share of about 76.3% and renewables have a share of about 23.7%, in global electricity production. The Paris Agreement at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP), the first ever legally binding global climate deal, was signed by 195 countries in 2015, where it was decided to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5°C till the year 2100, by reducing carbon emissions. Even though quite recently, the US has decided to pull out of the agreement, other countries, such as China and India, are still optimistic about the success of the agreement.

As a result of the aforementioned developments, there has been a rapid surge in installation of solar photovoltaics. In 2017 alone, about 74 GW of solar photovoltaics (PV) were installed across the globe, taking the cumulative installed solar PV capacity to over 300 GW. More growth is predicted in the future; the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has estimated that the global PV installations will reach between 1,760 GW and 2,500 GW by 2030. Historically, crystalline silicon (c-Si) PV cells have dominated the solar PV market, occupying a share of about 90%. However, it is believed that the cost reduction potential, as well as efficiency increase potential in case of silicon based PV modules are limited. Therefore, the industry’s focus is gradually shifting towards the use of thin film PV technologies. The growth of these technologies is also being driven by newer applications of solar panels, such as for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), rooftops / facades and applications that demand more flexibility, as well as low angle installations. As the demand for solar PV continues to rise at a steady pace, we are optimistic about the future of the thin film PV industry.

SCOPE OF THE REPORT
The Thin Film Photovoltaics Market, 2017-2030 report provides a comprehensive analysis of the current market landscape and a detailed future outlook of the thin film photovoltaics (PV) industry. As the global economy aims for energy security, renewable energy sources, such as solar power, are expected to play a pivotal role. In 2015, the solar energy sector attracted 56% of the total new investments (USD 286 billion) that were made in the renewable power and fuels industry. As a result of heavy funding and significant government support (in the form of subsidies), the prices of solar energy have plummeted by over 60% in the last 10 years.

Our study encompasses the various thin film PV technologies that are currently available in the market, such as cadmium telluride (CdTe), copper indium selenide / gallium selenide (CIS / CIGS) and amorphous silicon (a-Si). We expect that, as this generation of thin film PV technologies matures, they are likely to benefit from economies of scale, resulting in further cost reductions. Subsequently, these technologies are likely to become one of the primary drivers behind the growth of the solar PV industry. In addition to aforementioned technologies, next generation thin film PV technologies, such as organic PV (OPV), dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) and perovskite solar cells (PSC), are already being developed. These next generation thin film PV technologies are anticipated to gain more importance in the long term as they are believed to be superior in terms of energy generation capacity as well as flexibility.

The study provides a deep dive into the developments that are impacting the current solar energy generation industry and are likely to drive significant changes in the long term. We were able to identify close to 85 industry stakeholders, distributed across the three major thin film PV technologies. In addition to other elements, the study elaborates on the following:
- The current status of the market with respect to key players / technologies along with information on a company’s business model (whether it is focused on products or services or technology licensing or a combination of these), scale of operation (small, medium or large), substrate used, deposition process involved, cell / module capacity, conversion efficiency achieved, and geographical location of the companies.
- Comprehensive profiles of some of the key players across each type of thin film PV technologies, covering the current focus of the companies, details on their specific thin film PV technology, products and services, and associated recent developments & future outlooks.
- The impact of venture capital funding in this area. We believe that investments from private investors is a key enabler that is likely to drive significant developments in this industry in the long term. Investments from external sources generally enable stakeholders in the industry to scale-up their operations and develop / acquire the necessary technologies to carry out production at larger scales. This usually results in significant reductions in cost per unit.
- Next generation thin film PV technologies, such as organic PV (OPV), dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) and perovskite solar cells (PSC), with details on the key technologies involved, industry players focused in the area, current trends in the market, as well as future prospects.
- A high level patent analysis to provide an overview of how the industry is evolving from the R&D perspective. For this analysis, we looked at the patents that have been granted to various players in the last five years, across the current and next generation thin film PV technologies.
- Potential future growth in the thin film PV industry (both in terms of installed capacity and expected revenue generation) across the currently available technologies (CdTe, CIGS and a-Si). We have taken into account the overall installation cost of thin film PV modules to estimate future revenues. The report provides a comprehensive market forecast (till 2030) for the global, as well as the current top 10 regional solar PV markets, which includes the US, EU5 and Asia Pacific (Australia, China, India, and Japan), in terms of installed capacity. It also includes a segmentation by applications, distributed by small scale (such as consumer electronics), medium scale (such as residential rooftops and building facades) and large scale (such as solar parks, farms, plants), in terms of installed capacity and the potential revenues.

The opinions and insights presented in this study were influenced by discussions conducted with several key players in this domain. The report features detailed transcripts of interviews held with Andreas Zimmerman (Owner, Sunplugged), Dieter Manz (Founder and CEO, Manz), Rombout Swanborn (Chairman, HyET Solar), Edward Hamers (CTO, HyET Solar) and Robin Quax (Production Engineer, HyET Solar).


RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The data presented in this report has been gathered through secondary and primary research. For all our projects, we conduct interviews with experts in the area (academia, industry, and other associations) to solicit their opinions on emerging trends in the market. This is primarily useful for us to draw out our own opinion on how the market will shape up across different regions and types of thin film PV technologies. Where possible, the available data has been checked for accuracy from multiple sources of information.

The secondary sources of information include:
- Annual reports
- Investor presentations
- SEC filings
- Industry databases
- News releases from company websites
- Government policy documents
- Other analysts’ opinion reports

While the focus has been on forecasting the market over the coming 14 years, the report also provides our independent view on various technological and non-commercial trends in the industry. This opinion is solely based on our knowledge, research and understanding of the relevant market, gathered from various secondary and primary sources of information.

CHAPTER OUTLINES
Chapter 2 provides an executive summary of the insights captured in our study. It offers a high level view on the likely evolution of the thin film PV market, with a key focus on the CdTe, CIGS and a-Si technologies.

Chapter 3 is an introductory chapter on solar PV technologies. It describes the various renewable energy sources and their current contribution to the overall energy generation. In addition, the chapter provides information on various developments in the energy sector that are driving the market towards renewable energy sources, such as solar power, which is growing at a rapid pace. We have also briefly discussed the different types of solar PV technologies that are already available in the market.

Chapter 4 provides a technological overview and comparison of the three main thin film PV technologies, namely CdTe, CIGS and a-Si. In addition, it offers detailed discussions on the various materials used in the fabrication of thin film modules, along with their properties, the deposition technologies used in the manufacturing, construction / working of thin film PV.

Chapter 5 identifies key stakeholders behind the thin film PV technologies that are available commercially. It provides information on each company’s business model (whether it is focused on products or services or technology licensing or a combination of these), geographical location, scale of operation (small, medium or large), substrate used, deposition process involved, cell / module capacity and conversion efficiency achieved. In addition, we have identified various prevalent and upcoming trends in the industry that are likely to govern the future of the thin film PV industry.

Chapter 6 provides a detailed review of CdTe thin film PV technologies and includes profiles of some of the key players that are expected to have an impact on the overall solar PV industry in the future. The profiles cover information about the company, details on their specific technology, products and services offered, and recent developments and future outlook, with respect to the solar energy generation industry.

Chapter 7 provides a detailed review of CIS / CIGS thin film PV technologies and includes profiles of some of the key players that are expected to have an impact on the overall solar PV industry in the future. The profiles cover information about the company, details on their specific technology, products and services offered, and recent developments and future outlook, with respect to the solar energy generation industry.

Chapter 8 provides a detailed review of a-Si thin film PV technologies and profiles of some of the key players that are expected to have an impact on the overall solar PV industry in the future. The profiles cover information about the company, details on their specific technology, products and services offered, and recent developments and future outlook, with respect to the solar energy generation industry.

Chapter 9 provides information on the funding instances and investments that have been made into this industry. We believe that financing from external sources is one of the key drivers of innovation in this industry. Our analysis revealed interesting insights on the growing interest of venture capitalists and other stakeholders in this market.

Chapter 10 presents a detailed 14 year forecast highlighting the future potential of the current generation of thin film PV technologies. The forecast, which provides estimates on the market opportunity (both in terms of value and installed capacity) across the three major types of thin film PV technologies (CdTe, CIGS and a-Si), is backed by robust secondary research and inputs from senior stakeholders via primary research. The analysis also highlights the relative growth opportunity across various regions of the world (the US, EU5 and Asia Pacific), in terms of future installed capacity.

Chapter 11 provides an overview of developments that are shaping up the next generation thin film PV industry. In this chapter, we have covered, in detail, the different types of next generation thin film PV technologies, their construction / working, substrate used, conversion efficiency and the current market landscape.

Chapter 12 provides a high level patent analysis to identify how the industry is evolving in terms of R&D. For this analysis, we looked at the patents related to the thin film PV industry, covering both the relatively more established technologies and next generation thin film PV technologies. Insights from this analysis highlight interesting trends that are likely to unfold in the future.

Chapter 13 is a collection of transcripts of interviews conducted with key players during the course of this study. We have presented the details of our discussions with Andreas Zimmerman (Owner, Sunplugged), Dieter Manz (Founder and CEO, Manz), Rombout Swanborn (Chairman, HyET Solar), Edward Hamers (CTO, HyET Solar) and Robin Quax (Production Engineer, HyET Solar).

Chapter 14 summarizes the overall report. In this chapter, we have provided a recap of the key takeaways and our independent opinion on the future outlook of this industry, based on the research and analysis described in earlier sections of the report.

Chapter 15 is an appendix, which provides tabulated data and numbers for all the figures provided in the report.

Chapter 16 is an appendix, which provides a list of companies and organizations mentioned in the report.

EXAMPLE HIGHLIGHTS
1. We identified 86 companies across the three main types of thin film PV technologies (CdTe, CIGS and a-Si). Most of the companies (close to 90%) offer products, custom solutions and affiliated services across a wide range of customer segments; in addition, some companies license their proprietary technologies to other stakeholders for product development and commercialization.
2. Based on applications, the market is segmented into small scale (applications in portable consumer electronics), medium scale (applications such as BIPV and residential rooftop applications) and large scale (applications such solar parks, farms and plants). We observed that over two-thirds of the companies offer solutions for medium scale or large scale applications.
3. At present, CdTe dominates the market and is the relatively more established technology. First Solar, with the maximum share in terms of installed CdTe capacity, is the leading company in this domain. Examples of other companies focused on the CdTe technology include (in alphabetical order) ANTEC Solar, EncoreSolar, Lucintech, Polysolar, and REEL Solar. However, due to limitations, such as difficulty in procuring tellurium and toxicity issues, the growth in the market of CdTe based solar PV modules is likely to stabilize in the long term.
4. The focus has gradually shifted to CIGS, a relatively novel technology that has gained a lot of attention from stakeholders across the globe. With its current efficiency (about 16% at module size) expected to surpass that of CdTe (about 18% at module size) in the next few years and its potential to overcome challenges associated with CdTe, the market for CIGS technologies is expected to grow at a relatively higher rate. Examples of companies focused on the CIGS technology include (in alphabetical order) AVANCIS (acquired by CNBM Group), Hanergy Thin Film Power, Hanwha Q CELLS, Solar Frontier and Soltecture.
5. In case of a-Si, the relatively lower efficiency (about 12% at module size) has resulted in its limited large scale applications. However, it is widely used at the small scale (such as in pocket calculators and consumer electronics) and also finds some applications in the medium scale segment. Examples of companies focused on this technology include (in alphabetical order) Astronergy (acquired by Chint Group), Fuji Electric, Kaneka Solar Energy, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Moser Baer Solar, SANYO Electric, Sharp and Topray Solar.
6. Several funding agencies have backed the innovation in this industry. We identified 120 instances of funding across 23 companies that have taken place since 2002. The total amount invested in this domain till date is over USD 8 billion. Of this, a significant amount of capital, worth USD 4.8 billion, has been raised via debt funding. Equity funding, of about USD 2 billion, has also been quite popular. Examples of prominent VC firms active in this area include (in order of number of instances) Firelake Capital Management, Hudson Clean Energy Partners, DBL Investors, Trident Capital, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Acero Capital, Braemar Energy Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Medley Partners and Norsk Hydro Produksjon.
7. In addition to the three thin film solar PV technologies currently available, next generation thin film technologies, including dye sensitized solar cells (DSSC), organic PV (OPV), perovskite solar cells (PSC) and quantum dot solar cells (QDSC), are being researched heavily by different companies that are on the look-out for low cost, high efficiency solar cells. The extent of R&D activity can be realized from the fact that we came across over 2,300 patents that have been granted since 2013, collectively across different next generation thin film PV technologies. It is worth highlighting that a significant proportion of research activity has been concentrated in North America (1,307 patents), followed by the Asia-Pacific region (758 patents) and Europe (250 patents).
8. Over the course of next decade, we expect the currently installed thin film PV capacity to grow at an annualized rate of about 12.9% (till 2030). It is worth mentioning that once the thin film PV technologies achieve further economies of scale, a rapid surge could be witnessed. Specific regions, such as China and India, are likely to contribute significantly towards this growth.

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