By John West
Sales of critical subsystems used in thin-film PV manufacturing equipment are expected to reach $324M in 2011, and the outlook is for this figure to grow by 3.74% in 2012 to $336M. This expectation is going against the trend for the industry as a whole, which is predicted to decline next year as revenues from cell and module manufacturing weaken. The reason for this countermovement is the opportunities available to manufacturers who are willing to invest in the latest thin-film PV equipment to drive down costs and force unprofitable competitors out of business. While the same opportunities exist for crystalline silicon manufacturing, the number of well-resourced companies signalling their intention to invest in thin-film technologies should ensure a positive year for suppliers of equipment and critical subsystems to this segment of the industry.