So, Where is the Growth for Silver in the PV Market?
Despite the shifting priorities in the PV sector, falling panel prices, and high silver prices (indeed partially because of them), NanoMarkets expects that revenues from silver materials will remain substantial in a number of PV applications. In fact, the very specific needs of the PV industry will produce a fertile field for silver product development.
PV of all kinds is very sensitive to materials costs, especially in the current era of collapsing solar panel costs. High and uncertain silver prices do lead silver materials suppliers to seek to create greater value in the hope of gaining better margins, or at least preserving their margins. And there is certainly room for innovation here. Therefore, in the next few years, the marketplace will welcome innovations aimed at reducing the costs associated with manufacturers’ bills of materials (BOMs):
• These innovations might include not only ways of making silver more effective as a conductor—such as through the use of nanosilver inks—but also through ways of using less silver in conventional inks and pastes.
• Nanosilver-based transparent conductors promise to greatly reduce the costs associated with difficult and expensive transparent conductive oxide (TCO) deposition by enabling low-cost, facile, roll-to-roll (R2R) solution-based fabrication of PV.
• In addition, the PV industry is developing both novel cell architectures and new materials for the absorber layer, both of which could profoundly affect the materials that are used/required for electrodes and reflector layers. Consequently, new silver formulations are needed to match the new materials and devices on which they are applied.