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Next-Generation Flexible Thin-film Solar Cell Technology and Market Forecast (2009-2020)

As cost reduction and product diversification are becoming important issues in the PV industry, flexible solar cells are drawing a lot of attention. Since most of conventional solar cells are formed on hard substrates such as wafers or glass, they are deformed or broken when forces are applied. However, flexible solar cells, drawing attention as one of next-generation solar cells, are bendable or twistable. Thus, thin-film solar cells are mainly used for flexibility. They are transformable according to circumstances, light-weight, and highly portable.

Because of these advantages, flexible solar cells are expected to be applied for various purposes, since they are enough to compete with other commercially available solar cells, provided that flexible substrates are developed first, and optimized technologies for the substrates are developed. Current thin-film solar cells using flexible substrates (metal foil, and plastic) are under disadvantages in terms of cost reduction due to the complex manufacturing process and inefficient aspects of the mass-production process. Thus, intensive research and investment are required to reduce the manufacturing costs.

Although United Solar Ovonic (USA) had took the lead with a-Si solar cells until 2009 in the flexible solar cell market, as new CIGS and other flexible solar cell manufacturers began to the market, the market began to grow in earnest from 2010. Although there has been a sharp decrease in production due to the global economic depression and oversupply of solar cells from 2011, it is expected that the market will begin grow from 2013 and be reinstated to the former level in 2014. After that, the market is expected to grow with a very high growth rate, reaching 1.6GW in production in 2020.

This report is dedicated to examining flexible thin-film solar cell technologies and market trends, embracing

– Overview of flexible thin-film solar cells

– Research trend of flexible thin-film solar cell research institutes and companies

– Flexible thin-film solar cell technology issues and new technology trends

– Flexible thin-film solar cell market forecast

– Flexible thin-film solar cell substrate and device technologies

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