Beyond Silicon: Thin Film Photovoltaics 2023-2033: IDTechEx

The thin film photovoltaics market is forecast to grow to US$6.1 billion in 2033

Beyond Silicon: Thin Film Photovoltaics 2023-2033

Covering emerging thin film photovoltaics, perovskites, organics, dye sensitized, cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium selenide, gallium arsenide, amorphous silicon, copper zinc tin sulfide, all-perovskite tandem, and perovskite on silicon tandem

Show All Description Contents, Table & Figures List Pricing Related Content
The future of solar technology extends far beyond silicon, with numerous alternative materials that belong to a certain class called 'thin film'. These can deliver several unique advantages such as higher efficiency indoor energy harvesting, simpler manufacturing, and potentially lower costs than conventional silicon PV. A particularly exciting opportunity is their role in powering Internet of Things devices - a rapidly growing market following the increasing smartification of home and retail electronics.
Decarbonization of global energy sources is being catapulted forward as both nations and industries race to achieve net zero, with photovoltaics (PV) already the fastest growing technology. While silicon PV is affordable to consumers and delivers high efficiencies, its application range is limited by its weight, size, and rigidity as well as a complicated manufacturing process. Thin film alternatives present numerous advantages to overcome these limitations and cater to emerging applications such as indoor energy harvesting.
Photovoltaics diversifying into emerging markets
The thin film PV market share has been steady at 5% of annual PV production for the past few years. However, the market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 10% over the next 10 years. Firstly, there have been improvements in silicon PV alternatives, with efficiencies increasing gradually and manufacturing processes becoming cheaper and more streamlined. Secondly, new applications are being developed that conventional silicon PV is not suitable for due to its rigidity, bulk, and weight. These applications include building integrated PV (BIPV), where the panels are attached to sides of buildings. In many cases, thin film PV panels can be up to 90% lighter than silicon panels and therefore are particularly suitable for applications where weight is an important factor, such as on building façades or weak structures. Some types of thin film PV can be made semi-transparent, which makes them less aesthetically obtrusive and ideally suited to deployment on windows.
Other emerging applications belong to the small self-powered electronics and Internet of Things (IoT) sector, which is expected to grow substantially in the coming years as 'smart' electronics become more prevalent in everyday life. Lightweight thin film minimodules can be used to power such devices and could serve as a cheaper and more long-lasting alternative to batteries or extensive wiring. Many household and retail appliances such as temperature, humidity, motion, and security sensors are likely to become increasingly 'smart' over the next decade and able to transmit data to the cloud to enable greater functionality. This is often referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) and represents a substantial opportunity for thin film PV.
Emerging thin film photovoltaics can be printed onto lightweight flexible substrates
What will dominate the thin film market?
Currently, the thin film market is dominated by cadmium telluride (CdTe), followed in second place by copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS). CdTe is best known in the USA where it is used for 40% of all utility-scale PV power. Despite concerns over the use of the scarce element tellurium, the CdTe market is expected to keep its position following strong investment and the creation of recovery and recycling initiatives that are at present already operative.
CIGS technology on the other hand has been plagued by commercial failures, with the largest manufacturer having exited the market in June 2022. It is expected that CIGS will be surpassed in the coming years by perovskite PV - a very young and exciting technology that has shown remarkable efficiency gains in just a few years, with record efficiencies already on par with those of silicon PV, a technology with decades of research behind it. Perovskite PV is well-suited to both outdoor high power density applications as well as indoor energy harvesting and powering small electronics. Perovskite PV does not use toxic or rare materials, and the manufacturing is well-suited to scalable solution-based deposition methods. Despite all these benefits of perovskite PV, concerns over long-term durability have raised a lot of questions regarding their imminent commercialization.
Organic PV is another contender in this area and is already commercial on a small scale in both outdoor and indoor applications. Given the short lifespans of organic solar cells, typically 5 years, they are better to suited to powering short-term use electronics rather than large area outdoor energy harvesting that are expected to last > 15 years. For this reason, the application range of organic PV is limited. Another thin film PV technology is dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). DSSCs have been studied for decades; however, commercial traction is relatively recent. It is now possible to buy wireless headphones and smart helmets powered by DSSCs. Adidas is working to incorporate DSSCs into their own headphone line in the future. Similarly to organic PV, DSSCs do not have long lifespans and therefore their application range is also limited to short-term use electronics.
The thin film PV market is set to grow to US$ 6.1 billion by 2033. This follows significant expansion of cadmium telluride PV into both rooftop and solar farms markets as well as the burgeoning commercialization of perovskite PV. Perovskite PV is being developed for large outdoor installations but is also a very promising technology for indoor energy harvesting and powering small electronic devices and Internet of Things - these are markets that are set to grow rapidly in coming years as 'smart' technology becomes widespread. Along with the growth of these technologies comes substantial innovation and materials opportunities. Solar cells are increasingly being developed on flexible metal foils and plastic films, and their long-term durability requires high quality encapsulation. Optimizing materials to meet emerging applications and consumer demand is a compelling market opportunity.
Key questions answered in this report
  • What thin film PV and how can it be used to address climate change?
  • What are the competitive existing PV technologies?
  • What are the various market segmentations?
  • What is the technology readiness level of each thin film PV technology?
  • What are the key drivers and hurdles for market growth?
  • Where are the key growth opportunities?
  • Who are the key players?
  • What are the most lucrative innovation opportunities?
  • What are the emerging or untapped application areas?
IDTechEx has 10 years of expertise covering printed and flexible electronics, including thin film photovoltaics. Our analysts have closely followed the latest developments in the technology and associated markets, interviewed key players across the supply chain, attended conferences, and delivered consulting projects on the field. This report examines the current status and latest trends in technology performance, supply chain, manufacturing know-how, and application development progress. It also identifies the key challenges, competition and innovation opportunities facing thin film photovoltaics.
Analyst access from IDTechEx
All report purchases include up to 30 minutes telephone time with an expert analyst who will help you link key findings in the report to the business issues you're addressing. This needs to be used within three months of purchasing the report.
Further information
If you have any questions about this report, please do not hesitate to contact our report team at or call one of our sales managers:

AMERICAS (USA): +1 617 577 7890
ASIA (Japan): +81 3 3216 7209
ASIA (Korea): +82 10 3896 6219
EUROPE (UK) +44 1223 812300
Table of Contents
1.1.Current landscape of solar PV
1.2.Could the thin film market share increase?
1.3.Thin film PV technologies covered in this report (I)
1.4.Motivation for thin film solar cells
1.5.Thin film PV technologies covered in this report
1.6.Typical commercial efficiencies of existing PV technologies
1.7.Photovoltaics technology readiness status
1.8.Commercial opportunity for PV technologies
1.9.Comparing thin film technologies (i)
1.10.Comparing thin film technologies (ii)
1.11.CdTe PV suffers from raw material concerns
1.12.Key CIGS player exited the market in June 2022
1.13.The future of GaAs PV?
1.14.Amorphous silicon PV experiencing market decline
1.15.Technological transition improves organic PV efficiency and stability
1.16.Readiness of organic PV materials and opportunities
1.17.Perovskite PV - rapid efficiency growth
1.18.Drivers for perovskite PV
1.19.Comparison of thin film deposition methods
1.20.Thin film PV industry adoption of deposition methods
1.21.Key takeaways (i)
1.22.Key takeaways (ii)
1.23.Key takeaways (iii)
1.24.Thin film PV annual revenue
2.1.Solar energy is the fastest growing energy source
2.2.Current landscape of solar PV
2.3.Motivation for thin film solar cells
2.4.Thin film PV technologies covered in this report (i)
2.5.Thin film PV technologies covered in this report (ii)
2.6.Could the thin film market share increase?
2.7.Typical commercial efficiencies of existing PV technologies
2.8.Comparing thin film technologies (i)
2.9.Comparing thin film technologies (ii)
2.10.Photovoltaics technology status
2.11.Typical cost of PV technologies
2.12.Silicon processing is costly and time intensive
2.13.Thin film PV benefits from greater vertical integration
2.14.How does a thin film solar cell work?
2.15.Key solar cell performance metrics
2.16.Breakdown of following chapters
3.1.Forecasting methodology
3.2.Forecasting module costs
3.3.Total installed PV capacity forecast
3.4.Thin film PV annual production forecast
3.5.Thin film market share
3.6.Thin film annual revenue
3.7.Thin film annual revenue (excluding CdTe)
3.8.Module costs
3.9.Cumulative installed solar farm capacity
3.10.Annual surface area production - solar farms
3.11.Solar farm annual revenue
3.12.Solar farm annual revenue (excluding CdTe)
3.13.Cumulative installed BIPV capacity
3.14.Annual surface area production - BIPV
3.15.BIPV annual revenue
3.16.PV module costs for wireless electronics
3.17.Production forecast for PV-powered wireless electronics
3.18.Annual revenue for PV in wireless electronics
4.1.1.Introduction to emerging thin film PV
4.1.2.Emerging thin film PV technology status
4.2.Dye Sensitised Photovoltaics
4.2.1.Introduction to dye sensitized solar cells
4.2.2.How does a DSSC work?
4.2.3.Carbon more practical than platinum as counter electrode
4.2.4.Opportunities to enhance DSSC electrolyte
4.2.5.Emerging alternatives to electrolyte solution for DSSC
4.2.6.Exeger: Utilizing DSSC to harvest energy for consumer goods
4.2.7.Value propositions of DSSC PV for indoor energy harvesting of consumer devices
4.2.8.Exeger's partnerships show promising future of DSSCs
4.2.9.DSSC-powered AR/VR headsets?
4.2.10.Solaronix - DSSC materials provider turning to perovskites
4.2.11.Innovation opportunities within DSSCs
4.2.12.Porter's Five Forces: DSSC PV Market
4.2.13.SWOT: Dye sensitised PV
4.2.14.Key Takeaways: DSSCs
4.3.Organic Photovoltaics
4.3.1.Introduction to organic PV
4.3.2.OPV: How does it work?
4.3.3.Advantages of organic PV relative to conventional silicon PV(i)
4.3.4.Advantages of organic PV relative to conventional silicon PV (ii)
4.3.5.Significant lag between lab and industry
4.3.6.Key players in the OPV industry
4.3.7.Porter's Five Forces: Organic PV Market
4.3.8.SWOT: Organic PV
4.4.Organic PV Materials Opportunities
4.4.1.Types of organic PV materials
4.4.2.Organic materials: Molecules vs polymers
4.4.3.Technological transition improves organic PV efficiency and stability
4.4.4.Benefits of non-fullerene acceptors in OPV (i)
4.4.5.Benefits of non-fullerene acceptors in OPV (ii)
4.4.6.Examples of non-fullerene acceptors
4.4.7.Tuneable band gaps make OPV well-suited to niche applications
4.4.8.Brilliant Matters producing speciality organic inks
4.4.9.Benefits of Brilliant Matters' unique polymerization methodology
4.4.10.Raynergy Tek targeting high efficiency OPV
4.4.11.OPV materials opportunities
4.4.12.Readiness of organic PV materials
4.4.13.Key takeaways: Organic PV
4.5.Perovskite Photovoltaics
4.5.1.What is perovskite PV?
4.5.2.Perovskite PV - A high achiever
4.5.3.Perovskite solar cell evolution
4.5.4.n-i-p vs p-i-n configurations
4.5.5.Simple structures for scalable perovskite PV
4.5.6.Emerging research topics in perovskite PV
4.5.7.Perovskite research begins to plateau
4.5.8.Perovskite PV incentivisation
4.5.9.Has perovskite PV lived up to early expectations?
4.5.10.Perovskite PV could be low-cost alternative to GaAs
4.5.11.Perovskites can save time, money, and energy relative to silicon PV
4.5.12.Perovskite PV challenges
4.5.13.Stability poses a challenge to commercialisation
4.5.14.Extrinsic degradation
4.5.15.Intrinsic degradation mechanisms
4.5.16.Material engineering can improve stability but compromise optical properties
4.5.17.Commercialisation of perovskite PV underway
4.5.18.Porter's Five Forces: Thin film perovskite PV market
4.5.19.SWOT analysis of thin film perovskite PV
4.6.Perovskite PV Materials Opportunities
4.6.1.Perovskite Material Components
4.6.2.Are lead concerns justified?
4.6.3.Public perception vs reality of lead
4.6.4.Material composition influences light absorption
4.6.5.Perovskite active layer materials - a commoditised market
4.6.6.High demand for low cost transport layers
4.6.7.Organic charge transport layers have high complexity
4.6.8.SFX - An alternative to Spiro as a hole transport layer?
4.6.9.Charge transport layer can limit cell efficiency
4.6.10.Inorganic charge transport layers are a simpler alternative to organic materials
4.6.11.Key takeaways: Perovskite PV
4.7.Applications for Emerging PV
4.7.1.Introduction: Applications for emerging PV
4.7.2.Current state of application development
4.7.3.Meeting application requirements - existing silicon vs thin film perovskite
4.7.4.Thin film PV for indoor energy harvesting
4.7.5.Thin film PV targets emerging IoT Applications
4.7.6.Perovskite PV could be cost-effective alternative for wireless energy harvesting
4.7.7.Solar powered smart packaging
4.7.8.Epishine has largest IP portfolio on OPV
4.7.9.Epishine is leading the way in solar powered IoT
4.7.10.Epishine considering entering perovskite PV market
4.7.11.Ribes Tech - OPV developer making customizable OPV modules
4.7.12.Ribes Tech targeting IoT market
4.7.13.Dracula Technologies aiming for low-cost small OPV modules
4.7.14.Dracula Tech intending >5 million piece production capacity by 2024 (i)
4.7.15.Dracula Tech intending >5 million piece production capacity by 2024 (ii)
4.7.16.infinityPV developing organic PV powered portable chargers
4.7.17.Saule Technologies: Perovskite PV developer for indoor electronics
4.7.18.Saule Technologies developing perovskite PV powered electronic shelf labels
4.7.19.Perovskite PV for vertical building integration
4.7.20.Tuneable bandgaps make thin film PV well suited to niche applications
4.7.21.Ubiquitous Energy developing organic PV glass
4.7.22.Could thin film PV be used to power cars?
4.7.23.Perovskite PV for conventional applications
4.7.24.Key takeways: Applications
4.8.Scalable Deposition Methods
4.8.1.Deposition techniques for scalable processing
4.8.2.Sputtering for high purity deposition
4.8.3.AACVD is an emerging solution-based vacuum approach
4.8.4.Inkjet printing for high spatial resolution
4.8.5.Blade coating is cheap but inconsistent
4.8.6.Slot-die coating is promising for industry
4.8.7.Spray coating - rapid but wasteful
4.8.8.Poor spatial resolution wastes material
4.8.9.Comparison of deposition methods
4.8.10.How to decide on thin film deposition methods?
4.8.11.Towards roll-to-roll printing
4.8.12.Novel perovskite deposition technique by Creaphys/MBraun
4.8.13.Thin film PV industry adoption of deposition methods
4.8.14.Summary of Deposition Methods
4.9.Substrates and Encapsulation Materials
4.9.1.Introduction: Substrates and encapsulation for thin film PV
4.9.2.Substrate choices: Conventional and emerging
4.9.3.Limitations of rigid glass substrates
4.9.4.Alternatives to rigid glass
4.9.5.What is ultra-thin flexible glass?
4.9.6.Ultra-thin glass improves flexibility
4.9.7.Encapsulation advantages of ultra-thin flexible glass
4.9.8.Corning Willow flexible glass: Market leader
4.9.9.Schott Solar flexible glass for aerospace
4.9.10.Flexible glass substrates: Advantages and disadvantages
4.9.11.Plastic substrates - cheap and flexible
4.9.12.Barrier layer requirement increases cost of plastic substrates
4.9.13.Why use metal foil substrates?
4.9.14.Substrate surface roughness impacts cell performance
4.9.15.Substrate material supply opportunities
4.9.16.Substrate cost comparison
4.9.17.Benchmarking substrate materials
4.9.18.How to choose a substrate
4.9.19.Glass-glass encapsulation to prevent extrinsic degradation
4.9.20.Comparison of common polymer encapsulant materials
4.9.21.Thin film encapsulation
4.9.22.Al2O3 is an upcoming thin film encapsulant
4.9.23.Ergis providing flexible barrier films with exceptionally low WVTR
4.9.24.Commercial flexible encapsulation
4.9.25.Opportunities within substrates and encapsulation
4.9.26.Key takeaways: substrates and encapsulation
5.1.1.Introduction: Inorganic alternatives to silicon
5.1.2.Inorganic PV comparisons
5.1.3.Readiness levels of inorganic alternatives to silicon PV
5.1.4.Summary of inorganic alternatives to silicon PV
5.2.Cadmium Telluride (CdTe)
5.2.1.Introduction to CdTe PV: The second most common PV technology
5.2.2.CdTe Photovoltaics: How does it work?
5.2.3.New CdTe cell structure increases efficiency
5.2.4.Why CdTe PV?
5.2.5.CdTe market share - has it plateaued?
5.2.6.CdTe PV plagued by toxicity concerns
5.2.7.CdTe PV suffers from raw material concerns
5.2.8.Does CdTe face a production limit?
5.2.9.First Solar's monopoly - room for entry?
5.2.10.The unexplored rooftop market
5.2.11.Can Toledo Solar crack emerging markets?
5.2.12.Alternative absorber materials
5.2.13.Innovation opportunities for CdTe PV
5.2.14.SWOT: CdTe PV
5.2.15.Porter's Five Forces: CdTe PV Market
5.2.16.Key takeaways: CdTe PV
5.3.Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS)
5.3.1.Introduction to CIGS PV
5.3.2.CIGS PV: How does it work?
5.3.3.Value propositions of CIGS PV
5.3.4.Why has CIGS PV struggled to gain ground?
5.3.5.Key player exited the market in June 2022
5.3.6.Aesthetics are important for BIPV
5.3.7.Could flexible CIGS solar cells take off?
5.3.8.Midsummer making flexible cadmium-free CIGS solar cells
5.3.9.Midsummer targeting rooftop market
5.3.10.Midsummer attempting expansion into aerospace
5.3.11.Transition toward cadmium-free cells
5.3.12.The search for simple low cost deposition
5.3.13.CIGS PV innovation opportunities
5.3.14.SWOT: CIGS PV
5.3.15.Porter's Five Forces: CIGS PV Market
5.3.16.Key takeaways: CIGS PV
5.4.Gallium Arsenide
5.4.1.Introduction to GaAs PV
5.4.2.GaAs PV: How does it work?
5.4.3.Multi-junction GaAs solar cells
5.4.4.Properties of GaAs PV
5.4.5.The future of GaAs PV?
5.4.6.Key player Alta Devices has shut down
5.4.7.Slow manufacturing is an issue for GaAs
5.4.8.NREL working on inexpensive manufacturing
5.4.9.Solar cars - an Earth application of GaAs PV?
5.4.10.GaAs PV innovation opportunities
5.4.11.SWOT: GaAs PV
5.4.12.Porter's Five Forces: GaAs PV Market
5.4.13.Key takeaways: GaAs PV
5.5.Amorphous Silicon
5.5.1.Amorphous silicon: What is it?
5.5.2.Amorphous silicon PV: How does it work?
5.5.3.Deposition of amorphous silicon
5.5.4.Onyx Solar producing PV glass with amorphous silicon
5.5.5.Amorphous silicon PV experiencing market decline
5.5.6.Conventional silicon PV using amorphous silicon
5.5.7.Photovoltaic thermal collectors: a potential application of amorphous silicon?
5.5.8.Does amorphous silicon PV have a future?
5.5.9.Amorphous silicon PV innovation opportunities
5.5.10.Porter's Five Forces: a-Si PV Market
5.5.11.SWOT: Amorphous silicon PV
5.5.12.Key takeaways: Amorphous silicon PV
5.6.Copper Zinc Tin Sulfide (CZTS)
5.6.1.What is CZTS photovoltaics?
5.6.2.CZTS PV: How does it work?
5.6.3.Cadmium-free buffer layers
5.6.4.Crystalsol commercialising CZTS PV
5.6.5.CZTS as a hole-transport layer in perovskite solar cells
5.6.6.Solution processing of CZTS
5.6.7.CZTS PV innovation opportunities
5.6.8.Porter's Five Forces: CZTS PV Market
5.6.10.Key Takeaways: CZTS PV
6.1.1.Introduction to tandem photovoltaics
6.1.2.Single junction vs tandem solar cells
6.1.3.Tandem solar cells to surpass theoretical efficiency limits of a single junction
6.2.Perovskite on Silicon Tandem
6.2.1.Perovskite on silicon tandem advantages
6.2.2.Tandem cell configurations
6.2.3.Perovskite on silicon tandem cell challenges
6.2.4.Perovskite on silicon tandem process flow
6.2.5.Silicon-perovskite tandem cost breakdown
6.2.6.Oxford PV: Major player in perovskite on silicon tandem PV
6.2.7.Business model of Oxford PV
6.2.8.Oxford PV is entering an unestablished market
6.2.9.CubicPV: Early stage perovskite on silicon developer
6.2.10.CubicPV's Direct Wafer® Method
6.2.11.Cubic PV delays timeline for tandem perovskite-on-silicon PV
6.2.12.Summary of key players (perovskite on silicon tandem)
6.2.13.Perovskite on silicon tandem PV roadmap
6.2.14.Porter's Five Forces: perovskite on silicon tandem PV market
6.2.15.SWOT analysis of perovskite on silicon tandem PV
6.2.16.Key takeaways: perovskite on silicon tandem
6.3.All-Perovskite Tandem
6.3.1.Current status of all-perovskite tandem solar cells
6.3.2.Bottom cell poses key challenge
6.3.3.Tin-based perovskites react with HTL
6.3.4.Emergence of HTL-free perovskite cells
6.3.5.Carbon-based HTL-free perovskite cells
6.3.6.Do HTL-free cells have a future?
6.3.7.Swift Solar: Developing all-perovskite tandem cells
6.3.8.Swift Solar's all-perovskite approach
6.3.9.Swift Solar all-perovskite tandem PV for electric cars
6.3.10.Non-solution deposition techniques could benefit all-perovskite tandem
6.3.11.Porter's Five Forces: all-perovskite tandem PV market
6.3.12.SWOT analysis of all-perovskite tandem PV
6.3.13.Key takeaways: all-perovskite tandem
6.4.Emerging Tandem Applications
6.4.1.Solar cell structures for different applications
6.4.2.Perovskite on silicon tandem PV coming to rooftops soon
6.4.3.Could tandem PV be integrated into windows?
6.4.4.Aesthetics may trump efficiency
6.4.5.Could all-perovskite tandem deliver solar powered vehicles?
6.4.6.Lightyear: Long range solar electric vehicle
6.4.7.Key takeaways: tandem PV applications
6.4.8.Company profiles - 27 companies profiled

Ordering Information

Beyond Silicon: Thin Film Photovoltaics 2023-2033

Electronic (1-5 users)
Electronic (6-10 users)
Electronic and 1 Hardcopy (1-5 users)
Electronic and 1 Hardcopy (6-10 users)
Electronic (1-5 users)
Electronic (6-10 users)
Electronic and 1 Hardcopy (1-5 users)
Electronic and 1 Hardcopy (6-10 users)
Electronic (1-5 users)
Electronic (6-10 users)
Electronic and 1 Hardcopy (1-5 users)
Electronic and 1 Hardcopy (6-10 users)
Electronic (1-5 users)
Electronic (6-10 users)
Electronic and 1 Hardcopy (1-5 users)
Electronic and 1 Hardcopy (6-10 users)
Click here to enquire about additional licenses.
If you are a reseller/distributor please contact us before ordering.
お問合せ、見積および請求書が必要な方は までご連絡ください。

Report Statistics

Slides 330
Forecasts to 2033
Published Aug 2022
ISBN 9781915514158

Preview Content

pdf Document Sample pages

Subscription Enquiry