Thin-Film Photovoltaic Market: A Burgeoning Arena of Innumerable Opportunities

It was 1839 when prominent French physicist Edmond Becquerel observed that some materials have the ability to create electrical charges. Now, 185 years later, solar has come a long way and will continue to hit new milestones.

The International Energy Agency has projected that the growth of renewable energy capacity will be raised by almost 60.5% in the next five years. In the latest advances, thin-film solar panels are photovoltaic (PV) solar panels that are made up of one or more thin layers of PV materials. In this blog, we will discuss various aspects of the thin film photovoltaic market in detail and explore the opportunities in numerous domains.


Applications of Thin Film Photovoltaic Panels

Portable Thin-Film Solar Panel: Thin-film solar panels are less in weight and much smaller than various options making it perfect for portable use cases. The most common place where portable panels can be seen is in calculators. For instance, various companies use portable thin-film solar panels in banks, laptops, remote locations, etc.

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Rooftops: People are installing flexible photovoltaic modules on the top of vehicles such as boats, recreational vehicles, and buses. These solar panels are thin and can be easily applied to curved surfaces commonly found at the top of the vehicle. The panels remain almost invisible from the ground level so that the consumers can maintain them. It has been estimated that almost 130 GW of photovoltaic are deployed by households, which account for almost 25.1 million units. It has been estimated that by the year 2030, the total number of units is projected to reach almost 100 million. Millions of households all over India have the potential to deploy almost 636 GW of solar capacity.

Large Scale: Various big organizations also usually utilize thin-film solar technology for various large-scale purposes. These panels degrade very slowly, are extremely durable, and hold potential for long-term investment.

Let us now understand the huge stride in thin-film solar panel technology in recent years and its future growth aspects.

Thin-Film Photovoltaic Market Future Growth Aspects

The thin-film PV market size is anticipated to cross almost $29 billion by the end of the year 2036, growing at a CAGR of 16.1% during the forecast period. In the year 2023, the market size of thin-film PV was more than $5.1 billion. The growth of the market can be attributed to the factors such as:

  • Low PV module prices and surge in technological advancements
  • Rising technological advancements and research investments
  • Enhanced performance in low-light conditions
  • Enhanced scalability and mass production

Some of the market constraints for the thin-film PV market are its lower energy conversion efficiency, exorbitant setup costs, and dominance of crystalline silicon panels in the market.

The four most common types of thin-film solar panels and their efficiency are:

  • Amorphous silicon (a-Si) panels have almost 7.1% efficiency.
  • Cadmium telluride or CdTe panels have 9.1% to 15.1% efficiency.
  • Organic photovoltaic panels have almost 18% of efficiency.
  • Copper indium gallium diselenide panels have 12% to 15% of efficiency. Furthermore, the Asia-Pacific region is projected to witness remarkable growth during the forecasted period on the back of rapidly growing energy consumption. The governments in the region are targeting to incorporate solar as a primary source in the future.

China is one of the largest solar photovoltaic markets in the world accounting for almost 51% of the global solar power. Thin-film photovoltaics are primarily being utilized in various utility-scale projects in China.

Other than this, the North America thin-film PV market is also set to attain a remarkable revenue share. The region is witnessing a surge in thin-film PV adoption driven by a rising emphasis on renewable energy. Various government incentives are promoting the inclusion of solar technologies.

Some of the prominent companies in the domain of the thin-film PV market are First Solar, Solbian, AVANCIS GmbH, MiaSole Hi-Tech Corp, JA SOLAR Technology Co., Ltd, Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc, Oxford Photovoltaic Ltd, Hanwha Corporation, Sharp Corp., and Crystalsol GmbH.

MiaSole in 2019 declared to enhance its FLEX-03W solar module functionalities to deliver high output with very little weight. The enhanced product is fabricated to weigh merely 5 kg and deliver up to almost 541W with successful applications in on-grid and off-grid areas.

Global Solar in March 2019 declared a more compact, flexible, and only a-meter-long thin-film PV module called PowerFLEX FG-M1.

This discussion illustrates that the global thin-film photovoltaic market holds numerous opportunities for growth in the coming period. However, in order to carve a niche for the market players, they are required to understand various market intricacies such as market constraints, regional growth, future growth aspects, etc. Understanding these factors, entrepreneurs make prudent decisions for their businesses and stay ahead of the competition.

Aashi Mishra is an experienced research writer, strategist, and marketer with a demonstrated history of research in a myriad of industries. The data in this blog is from this Research Nester report.