The grid shows that innovations in materials and cell designs will help stabilize module prices at $0.90/W, while the cost of goods sold will fall on account of improved cell efficiencies, cheaper processes and thinner wafers. Among other findings, the report predicts that direct solidification will provide cheaper wafers, and that direct solidification of molten silicon offers the best way toward kerfless wafering (which eliminates losses from sawing). This technology is a top target on the Disruptive PV Technology Grid, with a market size of up to $600 million. 1366 Technologies is the clear leader and is expected to be the first to reach commercialization by 2013, according to Lux Research.
Alternatives to cell efficiency will increase. Anti-reflective and light-trapping coatings are second-tier technologies, but they are among the top targets, with a market size of more than $600 million. These technologies provide cost-effective alternatives for efficiency gains. According to Lux Research, Natcore is the leader in this space with likely commercialization this year.
First Solar and Suntech led in PV module manufacturing in 2011, with both reaching approximately 2 GW of module production, according to Lux Research’s latest Solar Supply Tracker.
Crystalline silicon module prices continue to be at a record low, the report adds. Tier-one manufacturers are selling at around $0.90/W, while tier-two and tier-three manufacturers have sold product at even lower rates in order to burn through their inventories and survive the current market conditions.
The top 10 companies added up to 12.5 GW of module production – 44% of the 2011 total global module production.
The Energy Department will present a live webinar on Monday, March 19, that will provide detailed information on energy efficiency and renewable energy R&D topics for small businesses interested in an upcoming funding opportunity. The webinar will feature an introduction by Dr. Henry Kelly, DOE’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Entitled Topics for DOE’s FY 2012 SBIR/STTR Phase I (Release 3), this webinar will provide an overview of energy efficiency and renewable energy topics proposed to be included in the third release of fiscal year 2012 Phase I funding from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The webcast will take place on Monday, March 19, from 2-4 p.m. Eastern.