Although still lagging behind crystalline silicon in the maximum efficiency stakes, as costs per Wp fall, thin-film technologies are rapidly taking up a significant share of the PV market. Industry figures give a compound annual growth rate of 60% between 2002 and 2007, and production capacity could reach more than 10 GW in 2010 and 16 GW in 2012. Although uncertainty remains over the timescale, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) nonetheless expects about 4 GW of thin-film production capacity to be operational in 2010. Based mainly in Europe, China, Taiwan, the USA and Japan, this will represent about 20% of total PV module production, up from 10% in 2007.

'In light of the current capital market crisis, solar energy has now become a safe and sought-after investment.' -- Jochen Kirmaier, Managing Director, Conergy Deutschland