expansion in the use of thin film and organic materials used in
photovoltaics is expected to lead to a value of $3.8 billion for the
market by 2015, according to a new study by NanoMarkets, an industry
analyst firm. By 2015, amorphous silicon PV will use more than $900
million in silane gas and other silicon-based materials. A key
projection is the growth in new materials and the potential impact
these will have on the PV industry.
According to NanoMarkets, silicon inks will emerge that compare equally with the manufacturability of organic materials but offer considerably higher conversion efficiencies. The market research firm noted that thin film crystalline silicon is already in pilot production.
Another promising development, though further from market introduction, is inorganic nano-crystals designed to overcome the one-electron-per-solar-photon limitation in solar energy conversion. These nanocrystals, such as CdSe, CdS and CdTe, have the potential for conversion efficiencies in the mid-to-high double-digit bracket, NanoMarkets reported.
NanoMarkets is also fairly bullish on the development of CIGS-related materials that hold the promise for overall CIGS growth in the coming years. One key aspect is that the CIGS industry is looking for better formulations of selenium that avoid the volatility problems experienced in high temperature manufacturing processes. NanoMarkets is forecasting that this problem is in the short term, and that by 2015, the CIGS PV sector will consume a total of $1.1 billion in materials, significantly higher than today.