Renewable energy resources have the potential to meet the growing energy demand through the use of renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, etc. Photovoltaic technology is one of the most favoured renewable energy technologies. Photovoltaic (PV) generates electricity using solar cells. The photovoltaic effect allows semiconductors to generate electricity using sunlight through an electronic process. Solar cells are manufactured either from crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells or thin- film photovoltaic cells. When it comes to converting sunlight to electricity, thin-film cells commonly offer lower efficiency in comparison to silicon cells. However, thin film cells are simple and less expensive to produce. However silicon cells are expensive to manufacture.
The photovoltaic module holds many PV cells together, arranged in a parallel sequence, to enhance the output of current and generate higher voltage. Thesilicon material is vaporized and deposited on glass or stainless steel using three commercial production technologies namely single-crystalline technology, polycrystalline or multi-crystalline technology and thin film technology. Thin film photovoltaic modules use thinner photovoltaic material than mono or multi-crystalline photovoltaic modules. The cell structure of thin film modules is less susceptible to shadow and offers a more flexible design which has led to numerous applications such as curved surfaces, building-integrated photovoltaic, etc. Thin film photovoltaic cells consist of 10 nm thick layers of active materials. Crystalline-silicon cells, in comparison, consist of 200 to 300 nanometre thick layer of crystalline-silicon cells. Thin film photovoltaic modules are easy to install and offer excellent performance under a diverse set of climatic conditions such as diffused sunlight and indirect sunlight conditions. In contrast to crystalline silicon panels which are installed on strong rooftops with its rough mounting framework tilted at a fixed degree, thin film photovoltaic panels are rolled out and directly attached to the housetop even without racks or weak support. Though thin film panels require more roof space for the same power output, their installation is easy and cost effective.
Thin Film Photovoltaic Modules: Market Dynamics
The market for thin-film photovoltaic modules relies heavily on supply-driven market situation and currently, there is a strong demand for low-cost thin film photovoltaic modules in the market. Owing to improvements in technology made possible through the use of new materials and reduced cost, manufacturing of thin film photovoltaic modules has scaled up. However, the declining cost of silicon and hence, the increasing affordability of silicon-based photovoltaic panels such as mono and polycrystalline may act as a restraining factor the thin film photovoltaic modules market. Moreover, both copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) and cadmium telluride (CdTe) are toxic substances and stringent government regulations related to cadmium-related products could hamper the sale of thin film photovoltaic modules made from cadmium telluride.
Thin Film Photovoltaic Modules: Market Segmentation
On the basis of product type, the global thin film photovoltaic modules market is segmented into:
Copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS)
Amorphous silicon (a-Si)
Cadmium telluride (CdTe)
On the basis of application, the global thin film photovoltaic modules market is segmented into:
Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)
Roof –top applications
Utility scale applications
Thin Film Photovoltaic Modules: Regional Outlook
Owing to increased demand for solar energy, especially in Germany, Spain and Italy, the Europe region accounts for a significant market share of the total thin film photovoltaic modules market. Thin film photovoltaic modules are economical and work well when installed on roofs that face East, West or North. China and Japan could be the key markets for thin film photovoltaic modules in the Asia-Pacific region during the forecast period.
Thin Film Photovoltaic Modules: Key Players
Some of the key market participants identified across the value chain of the global thin film photovoltaic market are:
Solar Frontier (Japan)
Kaneka Corporation (Japan)
Moser Baer Solar Limited
SUNERG Solar s.r.l. (Italy)
Bosch Solar Thin Film GmbH
NanoPV technologies Inc.
HHV Solar (India)
Sulfurcell Solartechnik GmbH
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