Solar Cell Films Market Trends and Forecast 2015 – 2023

Solar cell films also known as thin film solar cells are used to harness electricity from solar energy. These films can be easily installed on walls, windows, and rooftops of residential and commercial buildings. They are widely used in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors owing to their design and structure. A typical solar cell film is classified under second generation photovoltaic systems. It comprises amorphous silicon (a-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe), and copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS). However, first generation photovoltaic systems generally include crystalline silicon technology such as single crystalline or multi-crystalline. Solar cell films on account of their high flexibility can be used at any location for electricity generation. Photovoltaic technology possesses significant benefits over conventional fossil fuel technology for electricity generation. It offers zero carbon emission coupled with reduced electricity generation costs. The operation and maintenance costs associated with solar PV systems are also very low as compared with conventional fossil fuel technology for electricity generation.

Conventional thin film solar cells owing to their stability and high efficiency offer electricity at low costs. Companies across the globe are majorly focusing on research & development and commercialization of thin film PV technologies, which involve amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide.

Increasing demand for electricity especially in the developing countries of Asia Pacific and Latin America has boosted the demand for energy, which in turn, has propelled the need for alternative/renewable sources of energy, unlike solar cell films. Regulatory policies, fiscal incentives, and public financing are the other factors promoting the use of solar energy in the residential, industrial and commercial sectors.

The global solar film market is dominated by cadmium telluride (CdTe). It held the highest market share in terms of volume in 2014 owing to the high efficiency, longer life span, and low manufacturing costs of these cells as compared to other solar cell films. High sunlight absorbing power and higher electricity generation rate make cadmium telluride solar cell films a preferred choice over other solar cell films for generating electricity. Depleting fossil fuel reserves, increasing pollution levels, and high availability of solar energy are the primary driving factors for the solar cell films market.

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In terms of end-use segment, the commercial sector holds the highest market share owing to the high electricity demand, especially during peak hours. Offices, shopping complexes, malls, and multiplexes are some of the potential customers of solar cell films. Once installed, solar cell films provide unlimited power supply and have low maintenance costs as compared to nuclear power plants.

In terms of geography, the global solar films market has been segmented into six regions: North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, South America, the Middle East, and Africa. Europe dominated the global solar cell films market in 2014. It has witnessed substantial installations of solar cell films in various countries, namely Germany, Russia, France, the U.K., and Spain. Asia Pacific was the second-largest market for solar films in 2014. Increasing population and rapid industrialization are some of the key drivers of the solar cell films market in Asia Pacific. North America is also a potential market for solar cell films owing to the high demand for electricity in the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. is considered as a leading energy consuming country in the world. Increasing demand for electricity from conventional energy resources such as coal and natural gas increases pollution levels across the globe. Key players in the global solar cell films market include Heliatek GmbH, DUNMORE Corporation, 3M, Advanced Energy Industries, Inc., First Solar, Inc., Lucent CleanEnergy, Stion Corporation, Solar Frontier K.K., Kaneka Corporation, Hanergy Holding Group Ltd., and Prism Solar Technologies, Inc.

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