- Standard silicon-based solar modules will provide 89% of the solar capacity installed in 2014, according to the NPD Solarbuzz PV Technology Roadmap. Thin film panels, using deposition techniques similar to those used in flat-panel displays, will meet another 8% of the year's end-market demand, and premium crystalline silicon (c-Si) based processes, which incorporate semiconductor grade materials, will be in the other 3% of 2013 installations.
- The three leading PV module manufacturing segments over the next five years will be standard silicon modules using solar grade wafer substrates—made with the type of solar grade wafer substrates used by 16 of today’s 20 leading module-makers—thin films, and premium c-Si technology, according to the technology roadmap.
- A continued manufacturer emphasis on efficiency should provide continued record module power ratings across all three technologies. The combined thin film and premium c-Si segments are forecast to grow from 2014’s 5.3 gigawatts to 14.5 gigawatts in 2018, with 7.6 gigawatts of the boost coming from premium c-Si module suppliers’ 200% growth after 2015.
Standard silicon-based solar modules made with solar grade wafer substrates are used in the modules of U.S. market leaders Yingli, Trina and Canadian Solar.
The two leading thin film segment manufacturers are First Solar and Solar Frontier.
High efficiency module manufacturers SunPower and Panasonic are two of the leading premium c-Si consumers. SolarCity's newly acquired Silevo and First Solar's TetraSun are expected to expand the premium c-Si market segment with moves into mass production .
Post-2012 PV technology consolidation and post-2015 easing of price competition allow a clearer picture of longer term manufacturing and marketing targets.
The technologies’ growth is less a product of market share changes and more the result of the PV industry’s annual demand doubling every four years.