Solar

Encapsulation, flexible substrates for thin-film photovoltaics subject of new report

NanoMarkets will release a new report on the market for encapsulation and flexible substrates for thin-film photovoltaics. Thin film solar cells require encapsulation to prevent air/water damage, but glass-encapsulation defeats the purpose of flexible thin film photovoltaics.

(Marketwire – September 15, 2010) — Industry analyst firm NanoMarkets will release a new report on the market for encapsulation and flexible substrates for thin-film photovoltaics (TFPV). Thin film solar cells require encapsulation to prevent air/water damage, but glass-encapsulation defeats the purpose of flexible thin film photovoltaics.

The high sensitivity to air and water vapor of thin-film PV (TFPV) is a factor that increasingly retards the market for this technology. TFPV got its big chance during the silicon shortage era, during which conventional crystalline silicon was held back by lack of availability of its main raw material.

Follow Photovoltaics World on Twitter.com via editors Pete Singer, twitter.com/PetesTweetsPW and Debra Vogler, twitter.com/dvogler_PV_semi. Or join our Facebook group

Now that the silicon shortage is over, there is a burden on the manufacturers of the newer forms of PV to find new ways to compete with c-Si modules. Newer forms of PV are often touted for their flexibility, but the fact is that today they consist overwhelmingly of fully glass-encapsulated modules. Rigid substrates also prevent new types of PV achieving cost advantages to the extent that they are barred from adopting R2R manufacturing processes. The apparently natural fit of TFPV for mobile PV and building integrated PV (BIPV) will also only be realized if more flexibility and higher performance encapsulation becomes possible.

Nonetheless, flexible PV options have been slow to develop, in many cases primarily because flexible encapsulation options are considered cost prohibitive or technically inferior. As a result there seems to be opportunities for materials firms to come up with improved encapsulation and substrate options; ones that enable TFPV to better meet its promise.

This NanoMarkets report provides analysis of the market for encapsulation and substrate materials, including a detailed eight-year forecast of the revenue opportunities that these materials present. It’s audience includes chemical, glass, polymer, and thin-film ceramic manufacturers as well as those seeking to ensure that they address photovoltaics encapsulation issues effectively.

NanoMarkets tracks and analyzes emerging market opportunities in electronics created by developments in advanced materials. Visit www.nanomarkets.net