Advantages

Advantages

Lower Costs

Thin film PV technologies use up to 99% less semiconductor material to convert sunlight into electricity, resulting in lower production costs, higher conversion efficiencies and a smaller environmental footprint. Learn more

Lower Costs

Source: MIT, The Future of Solar Energy, 2015.

Thin film PV’s minimal resource requirements result in lower manufacturing costs. Even without silicon PV’s economies-of-scale advantage, thin film PV is able to compete with 1st generation crystalline silicon technologies. In a 2015 Green Tech Media article, the CEO of Siva Power outlined how thin film can be significantly cheaper than silicon at similar levels of production.

 

PV Module Experience Curve (1976-2011)

PV module cost curve

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance 2012 and Green Tech Media 2015.

By applying lessons learned from the flat panel display sector, the thin PV industry has the potential to achieve even further manufacturing cost reductions by using bigger manufacturing equipment to make larger units at a lower cost.

 

Higher Efficiency Potential

Conventional crystalline silicon technologies are approaching their practical efficiency limit while thin film technologies have room to grow and innovate. Thin film PV technologies have the fastest innovation rate in the industry. Since 2011, crystalline silicon module efficiencies have increased less than 10% while thin film module efficiencies have increased more than 20%.

 

Best Research Cell Efficiencies

Best research cell efficiencies

Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Research Cell Efficiency Records, 2016.

 

PV Module Efficiency Improvements by Technology

Module Efficiency Improvements

Source: GTM Research, PV Pulse, May 2016.

 

Solution for Energy Security

  • 1 in 6 people do not have access to electricity and emerging economies face growing energy needs
  • IEA projects electricity demand will rise 70% by 2035 with India and China accounting for half
  • PV contributes to a more resilient grid and minimizes the risk of fuel price volatility by delivering reliable and cost competitive electricity

Solution for Water Scarcity

  • Global energy generation accounted for approximately 15% of the world’s total water withdrawals in 2010 or 583 billion cubic meters per year
  • In the U.S. and Europe, thermal power plants account for more than 40% of total water withdrawals
  • PV uses up to 300 times less water than conventional energy by directly converting sunlight to electricity without the use of water

Solution for Climate Change

  • The energy sector accounts for approximately two-thirds of all man-made greenhouse-gas emissions
  • The power sector is the world’s largest consumer of fossil-fuels and accounts for over 40% of energy-related CO2 emissions
  • PV generates clean electricity for 25+ years with no carbon emissions or other air pollutants