Economic Analysis: Nanotechnology for Photovoltaics
Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology may be used in several types of applications: grid-connected and off-grid systems as well as consumer electronics. Grid-connected solutions have been the engine for solar PV growth over the last decade, and it accounts for the biggest share of the market. A growing interest for building integrated PV (BIPV) is also recognised and nanotechnology is key when producing flexible thin film products for buildings. PV is still an early-stage technology with several barriers slowing the technology“s transition to market. Cost competitiveness, system integration with infrastructure and other renewable energy sources, supply chain, market deployment and policy framework with feed-in tariffs are important factors affecting the commercialisation of PV. The effects of nanotechnology can be seen on solar photovoltaic“s price and in the shorter value chain of thin film produced PV. On the application level, the functional requirements of solar photovoltaics are efficiency, durability, easy installation, light weight and disposability. Global solar photovoltaic installations increased in 2009 reaching 6.43 GW, with annual production of 9.6 GW (regardless of the down turn). The share of nanotechnology-enabled thin film technology increased sharply. It was slightly below 20% in 2009 and the market was dominated by crystalline silicon wafer based technology. Most of the European companies producing solar cells and modules utilizing nanotechnology - now or in a near future - seem to focus on a-si. In addition CIS, CIGS or DSSC PV technologies are the focus of several European companies, as indicated by research carried out by the ObservatoryNano-project. 60 to 75% of the European companies in this study were small or medium sized. 90% of the companies focused only on solar photovoltaic. Germany was the location for most of the companies.
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