NanoMarkets Projects Next-Generation Solar PV Materials to Become a $2 Billion Market by 2021

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In this new report, NanoMarkets develops a roadmap for next-generation solar materials and analyzes their revenue potential over the next eight years, including a granular forecast of quantities shipped and revenues generated. The report also examines the commercialization strategies of the suppliers already actively involved in this space, as well as the opportunities emerging for start-ups.

The solar industry also is beginning to think out of the box with a slew of entirely new nanomaterials such as quantum dots, nanowires, nanotubes and graphene.

The total market value of emerging PV technologies -- advanced crystalline silicon cell architectures, thin films, organic and dye-sensitized technologies, and various nanomaterials -- will surge to $262 million in 2017 and nearly $2.1 billion by 2021, up from just $20 million today, according to a new report from industry analyst firm NanoMarkets. Details of the new report "Materials for Next-Generation Photovoltaics – 2014-2021," including a downloadable excerpt, are available at:

Highlights from the report:

Emerging Opportunities in Silicon Photovoltaics: The need for better c-Si technology has urged more aggressive roadmaps based on advanced c-Si technologies, including n-type cells, back-contact cells, selective emitter options, wrap-through variants, and cells with rear side passivation. We anticipate a scale-up to volume production is likely to occur 2015. NanoMarkets sees the total market value for advanced c-Si technologies at $16 million in 2014, rising to $613 million in 2019 and $1.57 billion by 2021.

Next-generation thin-film PV: Standard thin-film PV has found it hard to compete with conventional c-Si's relentless market pressures and efficiency improvements. CdTe and CIGS are posing stronger challenges in terms of efficiency, and should find acceptance in constrained spaces and other related industrial applications, especially with further development of novel and cost-effective production approaches. Meanwhile, other emerging thin-film candidates include CZTS (a CIGS variant with a different absorber material), CdMgTe (a II-VI semiconductor alloy), and pyrites. NanoMarkets sees the total market value for these emerging thin-film technologies ramping up to $49 million in 2019 and $223 million by 2021.

OPV and DSC: Organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells are lightweight, flexible, and highly tunable, with a very high absorption coefficient coupled with the use of low-cost, high-throughput manufacturing techniques such as inkjet printing and roll-to-roll. Urgent needs still must be addressed: develop large-area monolithic panels, reduce defect density, and devise better encapsulation systems. NanoMarkets believes OPV modules need to demonstrate closer to 8% efficiency level and 10 years of lifetime within the next five years’ time to be competitive in the marketplace – if so, we see this market exploding from essentially nothing today into a $350 million market by 2021.

Perhaps the most excitement around solar PV materials is around perovskite, which has seen extraordinary improvements in efficiency from breaking the 10% barrier in 2012 to nearly 20% this year, and possibly as high as 30% before being commercially rolled out. Several key firms in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC) have been at the forefront of the perovskite solar revolution, and a great deal of research continues into perovskite materials optimization and processing techniques. We believe it is indeed possible that perovskite PV cells could quickly ramp and compete against the more established Si counterparts within the next several years, establishing a $60 million market foothold by 2019 and $161 million by 2021.

Nanomaterials for Next-generation PV: Further down the solar PV technology roadmap are a number of nanomaterials which present various attractive options, and challenges that continue to slow their development toward commercialization anytime soon. Silver nanowires/metal meshes, quantum dots, carbon nanotubes, and graphene all promise intriguing material properties (electrical, thermal, optical) and manufacturing possibilities (low-temperature, solution processing techniques). However, much work still has to be done, from efficiency improvements to tunability to stability, to prepare them for any kind of commercial use. Collectively, NanoMarkets sees the total market for these nanomaterials-based PV rising from just $4 million in 2014 to $60 million in 2019 and $125 million by 2021.

About NanoMarkets:

NanoMarkets tracks and analyzes emerging markets in energy, electronics and other area created by developments in advanced materials. The firm is a recognized leader in industry analysis and forecasts of the BIPV sector and the PV sector more generally.

Visit for a full listing of NanoMarkets' reports and other services.

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Robert Nolan
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