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Encapsulation and Flexible Substrates for Thin-Film Photovoltaics

NanoMarkets
Published Date » 2012-04-25
No. Of Pages » 64

The high sensitivity to air and water vapor of thin-film PV (TFPV) is a factor that increasingly retards the market for this technology. TFPV got its big chance during the silicon shortage era, during which conventional crystalline silicon was held back by lack of availability of its main raw material.

Now that the silicon shortage is over, there is a burden on the manufacturers of the newer forms of PV to find new ways to compete with c-Si modules.  Newer forms of PV are often touted for their flexibility, but the fact is that today they consist overwhelmingly of fully glass-encapsulated modules.  Rigid substrates also prevent new types of PV achieving cost advantages to the extent that they are barred from adopting R2R manufacturing processes.  The apparently natural fit of TFPV for mobile PV and building integrated PV (BIPV) will also only be realized if more flexibility and higher performance encapsulation becomes possible
 
Nonetheless, flexible PV options have been slow to develop, in many cases primarily because flexible encapsulation options are considered cost prohibitive or technically inferior.  As a result there seems to be opportunities for materials firms to come up with improved encapsulation and substrate options; ones that enable TFPV to better meet its promise.
 
This NanoMarkets report provides our analysis of the market for encapsulation and substrate materials, including a detailed eight-year forecast of the revenue opportunities that these materials present.   We believe that this report will be essential reading for chemical, glass, polymer, and thin-film ceramic manufacturers as well as those seeking to ensure that they address photovoltaics encapsulation issues effectively.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

E.1 Flexible PV Opens Up New Opportunities for Substrates and Encapsulation
E.1.1 Why Flexible PV and Why Now?
E.1.2 Impact of Substrate Cost Changes:  Emerging Alternative Materials
E.1.3 Reducing Costs and Creating Value with New Encapsulation Technologies
E.2 Opportunities for Firms Supplying Encapsulants
E.3 Opportunities for Firms Supplying Substrates
E.4 Summary of Eight-Year Forecasts of Encapsulant and Substrate Materials for TFPV
 
Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Background to this Report
1.1.1 Encapsulation for Thin-Film PV
1.1.2 Substrates for Thin-Film PV
1.2 Objectives and Scope of this Report
1.3 Methodology of this Report
1.4 Plan of this Report
 
Chapter Two: Encapsulation and Substrates for TFPV: Evolving Technologies

2.1 Current Substrate/Encapsulation Environment
2.1.1 Rigid Thin-Film PV: Glass is King
2.1.2 Limits to Current Glass-Based Approaches
2.1.3 New Directions for Glass Encapsulation/Substrates
2.2 Substrate Requirements for Flexible PV
2.2.1 Flexible Substrate – Rigid Encapsulation
2.3 Are the Days of Rigid Substrates and Encapsulation Over?
2.4 Alternatives to Glass:  Metal and Polymers
2.4.1 Polymer Films: How Costs Can Come Down
2.4.2 Metal Options: Steel and Aluminum
2.4.3 Ceramic Films: Advantages and Disadvantages
2.5 Flexible Encapsulants for PV
2.5.1 The Special Needs of CIGS
2.5.2 A Note on CdTe and Substrates/Encapsulation
2.5.3 The Dyad Option: Best of Both Worlds, but at What Cost?
2.5.4 How Much is Enough: Encapsulation Performance and the Cost Barrier
2.6 Key Points Made in this Chapter
 
Chapter Three: Opportunities for Encapsulation and Substrate Materials in Thin-Film Photovoltaics
3.1 Why Do We Need Flexible PV?
3.1.1 Opportunities for Innovations in Manufacturing:   What Encapsulation Firms Must Do
3.1.2 BIPV:  The Sweet Spot for Flexible Encapsulation?
3.1.3 Mobile Chargers:  Opportunities for Flexible Encapsulants?
3.2 Substrate Markets for PV
3.2.1 Markets for Glass:  Can It Adapt to the World of Flexible PV?
3.2.2 In What Part of the PV Market can Plastic Substrates be Most Successful?
3.2.3 Sheet Steel and Aluminum: Bridging the Gap
3.3 Encapsulation Markets for PV
3.3.1 The Future for Plastic Film Encapsulation
3.3.2 A Roadmap for Advanced Encapsulation Markets
3.4 Key Points Made in this Chapter
 
Chapter Four: Eight-Year Forecasts of Encapsulation and Substrate Markets for Thin-Film Photovoltaics
4.1 Forecasting Methodology
4.1.1 Economic and Policy Issues
4.1.2 Data Sources
4.1.3 Scope of Forecast
4.1.4 Alternative Scenarios and Other Factors Taken Into Consideration
4.2 Forecasts of Substrate Markets: By Type of PV and Type of Substrate
4.2.1 Forecasts of Substrates for Thin-Film Silicon PV
4.2.2 Forecasts of Substrates for CdTe PV
4.2.3 Forecasts of Substrates for CIGS PV
4.3 Forecasts of Encapsulation Markets: By Type of PV and Type of Encapsulation
4.3.1 Forecasts of Encapsulation for Thin-Film Silicon PV
4.3.2 Forecasts of Encapsulation for CdTe Silicon PV
4.3.3 Forecasts of Encapsulation for CIGS PV
4.4 Summary of Forecasts
4.4.1 Forecasts of Substrate/Encapsulation by TFPV Technology
4.4.2 Forecasts of Substrate/Encapsulation Material by Material Type
 
Acronyms and Abbreviations Used In this Report
About the Author

List of Tables


Exhibit E-1: Summary of Substrate and Encapsulation Material Revenues from TFPV
Exhibit 4-1:Substrate Materials for TF Si PV Cells
Exhibit 4-2: Substrate Materials for CdTe PV Cells
Exhibit 4-3:Substrate Materials for CIGS PV Cells
Exhibit 4-4: Encapsulation Materials for TF Si PV Cells
Exhibit 4-5: Encapsulation Materials for CdTe PV Cells
Exhibit 4-6: Encapsulation Materials for CIGS PV Cells
Exhibit 4-7: Substrate and Encapsulation Material Revenues by TFPV Technology
Exhibit 4-8: Substrate and Encapsulation Material Revenues by Material Type

List of Figures

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