The high-concentrating photovoltaics market, buoyed by emerging nations with ample solar resources, will reach 697 MW in 2017 and experience a 31 percent compound annual growth over the next five years, a Lux Research report has said.
This growth will create a system market worth $1.6 billion and a module market worth $700 million by 2017, reaching a system price rate of $2.33 per watt, Lux Research said.
Unlike conventional solar photovoltaics, HCPV use mirrors and lenses to concentrate light from the sun onto super-efficient cells to produce electricity. The Putting High-Concentrating Photovoltaics into Focus report notes that HCPV has had very little success installing commercial systems to date.
HCPV is expected to grow at a faster rate than competing technologies as markets shift due to subsidy cuts away from distributed installations in regions with low solar resources such as Germany, said Ed Cahill, the lead author of the Lux Research report. HCPV is well poised to take advantage as markets move toward large-scale installations in regions with high solar resources, such as India.
HCPV costs are also coming down, Lux said. The research firm forecast that HCPV systems will turn cost-competitive with single-axis tracked multi-crystalline silicon (mc-Si) in 2017, closing a 33 percent and 20 percent gap with fixed and tracked mc-Si systems, respectively.
HCPV pioneer Amonix expanded too soon and has since been forced to cut back, opening the door for emerging players including Soitec, SunCore and SolFocus, Lux Research said.
Meanwhile, GTM Research has forecast gloomier days ahead for conventional PV module manufacturers. GTM’s latest report, PV Technology, Production and Cost Outlook: 2012-2016 forecasts 21 GW of PV module manufacturing capacity will come offline by 2015, due to a supply glut and dampening demand in key Western nations.
The GTM Research report estimates module supply has exceeded global demand by nearly 100 percent this year, or roughly 59 GW of total supply compared to 30 GW of total demand, GTM Research parent Greentech Media reported. GTM Research said the PV supply chain will experience an even larger market correction and forecast wafer, cell and module manufacturers will retire a combined 60 GW of capacity by 2015.
As a result, only a few low-cost, top tier firms, such as Yingli Green Energy and Trina Solar, that can achieve manufacturing costs of $0.45 per watt by 2015 along with sustained profitability, will be able to attain financial success by selling commoditized “plain-vanilla” modules, GTM Research senior analyst Shyam Mehta told Greentech Media. The GTM graphic above estimates the top 20 module producers by year-end capacity in 2016.