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REPORT # Nano-216 PUBLISHED September 12, 2010
Silver in Photovoltaics: 2010
  • Advanced Materials
  • Renewable Energy

    Check the Related Report link on the right for new reports issued since this report was published

    This report identifies and quantifies the opportunities for silver and silver products in the rapidly changing photovoltaics (PV) industry.  The report consider silver inks and pastes and various hybrid materials that are used in PV; materials such as transparent conductive silver-containing composites.

    With the end of the silicon shortage, crystalline silicon, for which silver is the dominant electrode material, seems less threatened by thin film PV (TFPV)  than it did a year or so back.  How good is this news for silver?  TFPV, in its various forms, is still expected to gain share in the PV market and has yet to firm up on the electrode materials that it will use going forward.  As TFPV technologies mature, will silver be a winner or loser?
    This report answers these questions and many more.  It also examines the potential revenues for silver in PV in the light of NanoMarkets’ revised PV projections given the current economic situation and prospects for renewable energy worldwide

    Executive Summary

    E.1 Why There are Still Opportunities for Silver in Photovoltaics
    E.2 Opportunities for Silver Pastes and Ink Firms
    E.2.1 Front Electrodes
    E.2.2 New Kinds of Silver Ink
    E.3 New Approaches to Controlling the Costs of Silver in the PV Industry
    E.4 Opportunities for Silver Alternatives in the PV Industry and  Silver Industry Responses
    E.4.1 Transparent Conductors
    E.4.2 The Rise of Aluminum
    E.4.3 And the Rise of Copper for Tabbing
    E.5 PV-Related Opportunities for the Silver Production and Distribution Industry
    E.6 Silver-Related Opportunities for Solar Panel Firms
    E.7 Important Developments and Changes Since Last Year's Report
    E.7.1 What the Decline in the Prospects for the PV Industry  Means for Silver Sales
    E.7.2 Recent Silver-Related Pricing Trends and Other Changes  Impacting the PV Industry
    E.8 Summary of Eight-Year Forecasts of Silver Sales into the PV Industry
    Chapter One: Introduction
    1.1 Background to this Report
    1.1.1 Crystalline Silicon PV: Old Guard, New Developments
    1.1.2 Thin-film PV: Newer Technologies, Newest Products
    1.2 Objectives and Scope of this Report
    1.3 Methodology of this Report
    1.4 Plan of this Report
    Chapter Two: Current and Future Utilization of Silver by the Photovoltaics Industry
    2.1 Traditional Applications for Silver in Crystalline Silicon PV
    2.2 Inorganic Thin-Film PV: New Uses for Silver
    2.2.1 Silver, TFPV and Front Electrodes
    2.2.2 Silver, TFPV and Back Electrodes
    2.2.3 Silver, Substrates and Superstrates in TFPV
    2.2.4 Silver, Transparent Electrodes and TFPV
    2.2.5 Applications for Silver in Amorphous Silicon and Other Forms of  Thin-Film Silicon
    2.2.6 Applications for Silver in CdTe PV
    2.2.7 Applications for Silver in CIGS PV
    2.3 Silver, Organic PV, and Dye-Sensitized Cells
    2.3.1 Silver in OPV
    2.3.2 Silver in DSC
    2.4 Are there Uses for Nanosilver in the PV Industry?
    2.5 Silver in Transparent Conductors for the PV Industry
    2.6 Silver Industry Trends Impacting Silver Use in the PV Industry
    2.7 Regulation Issues for Nanosilver
    2.8 Key Points Made in this Chapter
    Chapter Three: Markets for Silver in the Photovoltaics Industry
    3.1 Front Electrodes
    3.1.1 Printing, Patterning Silver and Front Electrodes
    3.1.2 Silver vs. Copper in PV:  Competition for the Future
    3.1.3 Silver vs. Transparent Conductors for Front Electrodes
    3.1.4 Fingers: Balancing Electrical Coverage with Light Obstruction
    3.1.5 The Future of Silver in TFPV Front Electrodes
    3.1.6 Tabbing
    3.2 Back Electrodes
    3.2.1 Silver as a Reflector
    3.3 Alternatives to Silver in PV
    3.3.1 Alternatives to Silver for Reflective Conductors
    3.4 Key Points Made in this Chapter
    Chapter Four: Eight-Year Forecasts of Silver in Photovoltaics
    4.1 Forecasting Methodology
    4.1.1 Data Sources
    4.1.2 Scope of Forecast
    4.1.3 Alternative Scenarios
    4.1.4 Some Notes on Pricing
    4.2 Forecasts of Silver Consumption by PV Technology
    4.2.1 c-Si
    4.2.2 Thin-Film Silicon
    4.2.3 CdTe
    4.2.4 CIGS
    4.2.5 OPV and DSC
    4.3 Forecasts of Silver Consumption by PV Cell Component
    4.4 Forecasts of Silver Consumption by Silver Material Type
    4.5 Summary of Forecasts
    Acronyms and Abbreviations Used in this Report
    About the Author


    List of Exhibits

    Exhibit E-1: Summary of Silver Markets in Photovoltaics ($ Millions)
    Exhibit 2-1: Silver Price and Production Trends (Production Values in Metric Tons)
    Exhibit 4-1: Silver Consumption by PV Technology
    Exhibit 4-2: Silver Use in c-Si PV Cells
    Exhibit 4-3: Silver Use in TF Si PV Cells
    Exhibit 4-4: Silver Use in CdTe PV Cells
    Exhibit 4-5: Silver Use in CIGS PV Cells
    Exhibit 4-6: Silver Use in OPV/DSC Cells
    Exhibit 4-7: Silver Consumption in PV by Cell Component
    Exhibit 4-8: Silver Consumption in PV by Material Type (000s Troy Ounces)
    Exhibit 4-9 Silver Revenues in PV by Material Type ($ Millions)
    Exhibit 4-10 Summary of Silver Revenues in PV ($ Millions)


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