|Photovoltaics & Materials
The Photovoltaic (PV) industry has been growing rapidly in recent years. Materials technology is key in both conventional silicon and emerging thin film technologies. The polysilicon shortage is a critical impediment through 2010 and it is not clear whether silicon technology will ever reach subsidy free cost competitiveness. Thin film technologies are still at an early commercial stage but First Solar (CdTe) now has emerged as a significant player industry-wide. Thin film technologies show promise in enabling significant cost reduction and subsidy free competitiveness. There is a large number of thin film technology platforms and variants thereof. The most ambitious ventures involve processes and materials such as non-vacuum roll-to-roll printing using nanoparticles. The recent emergence of turnkey thin film silicon deposition systems is also very interesting as it could eventually enable large volume foundries. Another area of interest is GaAs cells via concentrator systems that dominate space applications, but are now finding cost-effective terrestrial applications.