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REPORT # Nano-055 PUBLISHED September 15, 2008
The Future of Thin-Film and Organic Photovoltaics Manufacturing
  • Renewable Energy

    The rapid and recent commercialization of thin-film and organic PV has automatically put the spotlight on manufacturing issues. There are many different approaches being used today from traditional sputtering to avant-garde functional printing approaches. In some cases the old and the new are combined in the same fabrication plant. Some solar panel firms are going with a turnkey plant supplied by a large equipment manufacturer. Others are building their own plants from scratch.

    With so much diversity and change in this field, NanoMarkets believes that the time is right for this new report which surveys the manufacturing of thin-film PV (TFPV) and organic PV (OPV.) One goal of this report is to analyze the underlying performance of the plants built to date and to both understand where the challenges are and where the solutions to these challenges may be coming from. Another goal is to forecast the aggregate capacity of TFPV and OPV plants that are currently being built throughout the world or likely to be built in the near future. A third is to project the expenditures of TFPV firms on production equipment over an eight year period.

    One question that this report deals with specifically is the thorny question as to how important the future role of printing will be to the PV sector and which equipment firms are having success selling into this sector. We also discuss such matters as the tradeoffs between low manufacturing costs and cell efficiencies, the importance of economies of scale, integration of manufacturing facilities, approaches to manufacturing new cell types, etc.

    This report analyzes the state of the art in fabrication of both the manufacture of the photoactive layers themselves and the metallization process. We analyze the available data on how successful each approach to the manufacture of thin-film and organic PV is currently being and where the firms active in this space are looking for improvements and breakthroughs. In addition to the analysis itself, this report includes profiles of the manufacturing operations of 15 firms involved in producing solar products in the TFPV and OPV sector.


    Executive Summary

    E.1 Key Trends in Thin-Film and Organic Photovoltaics Manufacturing
    E.1.1 Opportunity #1: Ramping Up TFPV Manufacturing Capacity
    E.2 Implications and Opportunities for Manufacturing Equipment Firms
    E.2.1 Opportunity #2: Selling Machinery for R2R and Flexibility
    E.2.2 Opportunity #3: Improving Printed PV
    E.2.3 Opportunity #4: Improved Classical Deposition Techniques
    E.2.4 Opportunity #5: Beyond Proprietariness"Off-the-Shelf" Equipment?
    E.3 Implications and Opportunities for Materials Firms
    E.3.1 Opportunity #6: New Processes Need New Materials
    E.4 Manufacturing-Related Opportunities for Solar Panel Makers
    E.5 Key Innovators in Organic and Thin-Film Photovoltaics Manufacturing
    E.6 Summary of Manufacturing Capacity Forecasts and Equipment Shipments

    Chapter One: Introduction

    1.1 Background to this Report
    1.1.1 Perspective #1: Manufacturing and PV Conversion Efficiencies
    1.1.2 Perspective #2: Manufacturing and Cost Reduction
    1.1.3 Perspective #3: Manufacturing and Intellectual Property
    1.1.4 Perspective #4: Integrated Approaches to Manufacturing
    1.2 Objectives and Scope of this Report
    1.3 Methodology and Scope of this Report
    1.4 Plan of this Report

    Chapter Two: Key Manufacturing Trends in Organic and Thin-Film Photovoltaics

    2.1 Introduction
    2.1.1 TFPV/OPV Patterning Trends and Laser Scribing
    2.2 Batch Processing and the Evolution to R2R Fabrication and Flexible Substrates
    2.2.1 Flexibility, Substrates and TFPV
    2.2.2 R2R Everywhere
    2.3 Potential of Novel Fabrication Techniques in Thin-Film/Organic PV Manufacturing
    2.3.1 The Future of Sputtering
    2.3.2 PECVD and its Variations
    2.3.3 Other Vapor Deposition Approaches
    2.3.4 Printing and Solution Processing
    2.3.5 Proprietary Techniques and Development of Proprietary Equipment
    2.4 Impact of New Materials on Manufacturing
    2.4.1 New PV Materials
    2.4.2 Contact Materials
    2.4.3 Encapsulants
    2.5 Health, Safety and Environmental Concerns in the PV Factory
    2.5.1 Health and Safety Issues
    2.5.2 Environmental Issues
    2.5.3 Issues Related to Nanomaterials
    2.6 Summary and Analysis of Current Manufacturing Performance
    2.6.1 Yields
    2.6.2 Throughput and Economies of Scale
    2.6.3 Energy Conversion Efficiency Achievements
    2.7 Key Points Made in this Chapter

    Chapter Three: Profiles and Analysis of Existing Thin-Film and Organic Photovoltaics Facilities

    3.1 Approaches to a-Si and Nanosilicon Cell Manufacturing
    3.1.1 A Note on Silicon Nanomaterials
    3.1.2 Note on HIT Cells
    3.1.3 Manufacturing Profile A: EPV Solar
    3.1.4 Manufacturing Profile B: Flexcell
    3.1.5 Manufacturing Profile C: Innovalight
    3.1.6 Manufacturing Profile D: PowerFilm
    3.1.7 Manufacturing Profile E: Sharp
    3.1.8 Manufacturing Profile F: Uni-Solar
    3.2 Approaches to CIGS Cell Manufacturing
    3.2.1 Printing, Vacuum Deposition and CIGS
    3.2.2 CIGS: Cell Structures, Materials and Manufacturing
    3.2.3 Manufacturing Profile G: DayStar Technologies
    3.2.4 Manufacturing Profile H: Global Solar
    3.2.5 Manufacturing Profile I: HelioVolt
    3.2.6 Manufacturing Profile J: Miasolé
    3.2.7 Manufacturing Profile K: Nanosolar
    3.3 Approaches to CdTe Cell Manufacturing
    3.3.1 Manufacturing Profile L: First Solar
    3.4 Approaches to OPV Cell Manufacturing
    3.4.1 Manufacturing Profile M: Konarka Technologies
    3.4.2 Manufacturing Profile N: G24 Innovations
    3.5 Key Points Made in this Chapter

    Chapter Four: Organic and Thin-Film PV Capacity Forecasts

    4.1 Introduction and Forecasting Methodology
    4.1.1 Forecasting Capacity
    4.1.2 Forecasting Equipment
    4.1.3 Changes from Previous NanoMarkets Reports
    4.1.4 Data Sources
    4.2 Eight-year Capacity Forecasts by Type of Material Processed
    4.2.1 Amorphous Silicon
    4.2.2 CIS/CIGS
    4.2.3 CdTe
    4.2.4 OPV
    4.2.5 Summary of Capacity Forecasts
    4.3 Eight-year Capacity Forecasts by Type of Manufacturing Equipment Used
    4.3.1 Assessment of Total Capital Expenditure by the TFPV and OPV Sectors
    4.3.2 a-Si Equipment
    4.3.3 CIS/CIGS Equipment
    4.3.4 CdTe Equipment
    4.3.5 OPV Equipment
    4.4 Summary of OPV/TFPV Equipment Forecasts by Material and Equipment Type
    4.5 Geographical Forecasts of TFPV/OPV Capacity
    Acronyms and Abbreviations Used in this Report
    About the Author

    List of Exhibits

    Exhibit E-1 TFPV/OPV Capacity and Equipment Expenditures
    Exhibit 2-1 OVPD Versus Thermal Evaporation
    Exhibit 2-2 Comparison of Common Printing Processes
    Exhibit 2-3 Comparison of Inkjet Technologies
    Exhibit 2-4 Inkjet Equipment Suppliers
    Exhibit 3-1 Manufacturing Approaches Adopted by CIGS Solar Panel Firms
    Exhibit 3-2 Organic Solar Cell Manufacturing
    Exhibit 3-3 Properties of Konarka's Power Plastic OPV-based Material
    Exhibit 3-4 Konarka's Applications Partners
    Exhibit 3-5 Konarka's OPV-based Material Targets for 2010
    Exhibit 4-1 Amorphous Silicon PV: Capacity Ramp Up
    Exhibit 4-2 Worldwide Production Capacity for a-Si TFPV
    Exhibit 4-3 CIS/CIGS PV: Capacity Ramp Up
    Exhibit 4-4 Worldwide Production Capacity for CIS/CIGS TFPV
    Exhibit 4-5 Short-Term Expansion of CdTe TFPV Capacity
    Exhibit 4-6 Worldwide Production Capacity for CdTe TFPV
    Exhibit 4-7 Worldwide Production Capacity for OPV (Including Dye Sensitive Cells)
    Exhibit 4-8 Worldwide Production Capacity for Thin-Film and Organic PV (Including Dye Sensitive Cells) (MWp)
    Exhibit 4-9 Worldwide Production Expenditures on Equipment for TFPV and Organic PV (including Dye Sensitive Cells)
    Exhibit 4-10 Worldwide Market for a-Si and Nanosilicon PV Processing Equipment
    Exhibit 4-11 Worldwide Market for CIS/CIGS PV Processing Equipment
    Exhibit 4-12 Worldwide Market for CdTe PV Processing Equipment
    Exhibit 4-13 Worldwide Market for OPV Processing Equipment (Including Equipment for Dye Sensitive Cells)
    Exhibit 4-14 Worldwide Addressable Market for Third-Party OPV/TFPV Processing Equipment: By Type of Material Processed ($ Millions)
    Exhibit 4-15 Worldwide Market for OPV/TFPV Processing Equipment by Type ($ Millions)
    Exhibit 4-16 Worldwide TFPV/OPV Production Capacity by Region (MWp)


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