STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
BCC Research’s goal in conducting this study0.. was to determine the current status of the global market for photovoltaics (PV) and then to assess their growth potential over a 6 year period from 2009 to 2010 and then to 2015. We last studied this industry in 2007 and were particularly interested in the impact on the market by the surging global demand for energy, improvements in solar PV technology, declining costs of photovoltaics, and the impact of climate change on alternative fuels.
We were also interested in the impact of incentives on solar sales and installations. Our key objective was to preset a comprehensive analysis of the current market for PV and its future direction.
REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY
PV technology dates back to the 1950s and the advent of the space program, but the concerted effort to develop this technology for industry and consumer use began during the oil embargoes of the 1970s. The eventual stabilization of oil prices had a dampening effect on investment, tax credits, and government funding for research and development.
Despite these challenges, the development of PV and its materials continued and, in the late 1990s, R&D funding, cost-shared programs, and industry activity once again increased. The growth rate of this technology has been exceptionally high reaching annual growth rates of 30% to 40% and higher over the past two decades.
In the first decade of the 21st century, oil prices surged as demand rose at unprecedented rates. PV once again took the spotlight as an emerging technology. Companies in the PV business have focused on reaching grid parity—the meeting of cost for fossil fuel and solar energy—as a way to broaden the scope of PV. Nations and individual states began to offer serious incentives such as tariffs and tax credits for solar customers. Consequently, we were interested in looking at this industry once again to chart its potential.
In this PV study, we present current and emerging technologies, detail the industry structure, (e.g., the leading players in equipment and materials) and analyze the competitive environment, major applications, current and future markets, growth factors and detail shipments of cells and modules for 2009, 2010 and 2015. This study will be of interest to those who make semiconductor thin film manufacturing equipment, thin films, electrical connectors, optical devices, and materials such as silicon, steel, polymers and ceramics. It will also be of interest to those companies engaged in nanotechnology and materials for flexible substrates.
In addition, utility companies, construction firms and those involved with the space program will find its contents to be of value.
SCOPE OF REPORT
The scope of this study encompasses the major PV technologies monocrystalline silicon, multicrystalline silicon, thin films (e.g., amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, copper indium diselenide), compound semiconductor materials (e.g., gallium arsenide) and emerging approaches such as nanostructured films, dye-sensitized solar cells and organic technologies. BCC Research analyzes each technology, examines its current and potential efficiency, assesses the current market status of each, examines its future market impact, and presents shipments of PV cells and their values for 2009, 2010 and 2015. Various technical issues are discussed and a thorough economic analysis of each technology and its impact on future growth is presented.
In this report, we analyze the PV industry on a global basis, including manufacturing capacity and consumption by various regional markets. We examine government funding and support, industry involvement, standards, the environmental impact of solar energy, and the impact of incentives to use PV. We also discuss the potential for applications—both grid-connected and standalone. Projections of cell and module shipments by major applications are also presented for the 3 years covered in our study.
Both primary and secondary research methodologies were used in preparing this study. BCC Research presents an analysis for each PV technology of the number of cells, measured in megawatts, shipped in 2009. Our estimated values are what manufacturers have paid in undepreciated dollars. Then, based on our surveys, we analyze the potential for each technology, and forecast shipments for 2010 and 2015. We also analyze the cost of manufacturing the cells and modules and present an estimated value of shipments over the forecast period. We do the same analysis for key materials used in PV technology.
BCC Research surveyed approximately 125 companies to obtain data for this study. Included were manufacturers of PV cells and modules, arrays and supporting equipment as well as manufacturers of PV-related materials such as silicon and glass. We also spoke with companies developing solar cells based on thin films and materials developed through nanotechnology. We also compiled data from current financial and trade information and government sources.
After a successful career at IBM, Robert H. Moran has written extensively as a research analyst and editor at BCC Research. The topics of his reports range from various deposition technologies, to displays, solar energy and solid-state lighting. Mr. Moran has been writing for BCC Research for more than 20 years. He earned a B. S. Degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
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The information developed in this report is intended to be as reliable as possible at the time of publication and of a professional nature. This information does not constitute managerial, legal, or accounting advice; nor should it serve as a corporate policy guide, laboratory manual, or an endorsement of any product, as much of the information is speculative in nature. The author assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage that might result from reliance on the reported information or its use.