High-concentrating photovoltaics (HCPV) - a decades-old technology to tap more of the sun’s energy than other solar methods - is poised to finally hit its stride with a 31% compound annual growth rate until 2017.
That’s according to a Lux Research report – which predicts the growth will be driven by emerging markets with high solar resources.
The report continues and predicts the market for HCPV will grow to 697 MW in 2017, creating a system market worth $1.6 billion and a module market worth $700 million, reaching a system price of $2.33/W.
This boom in HCPV could have a positive effect on the industrial gas market as it is used in the production of many components used in the construction of solar panels.
“HCPV has had very little success installing commercial systems to date. However, as markets shift due to subsidy cuts from distributed installations in low-DNI (direct normal irradiance) environments such as Germany, to large installations in high-DNI environments such as India, expect HCPV to grow at a faster rate than competing technologies,” said Ed Cahill, Lux Research Associate and the lead author of the report titled, Putting High-Concentrating Photovoltaics into Focus.
Lux Research analysts evaluated the emerging solar landscape and the prospects for HCPV, which uses optics such as lenses to concentrate a large amount of sunlight onto a small area of ultra-high-efficiency photovoltaic cells.
Among their findings: HCPV costs are coming down. HCPV systems will turn cost competitive with single-axis-tracked mc-Si (multi-crystalline silicon) in 2017, closing a 33% and 20% gap with fixed and tracked mc-Si systems, respectively. It also will gain cost parity with mc-Si for high-DNI, utility-scale projects in 2018. The cuts will come through lower shipping and labor costs, besides economies of scale.
Funding is key to success. Well-funded companies that expand intelligently will drive the HCPV market. HCPV pioneer Amonix expanded too soon and too fast and has had to cut back; it struggles, and leaves the door open for emerging players like Soitec, SunCore, and SolFocus.
Developers race to build most efficient solar cell. With Solar Junction’s record-breaking 43.5% efficient cell and Spectrolab and Emcore scrambling to develop inverted metamorphic cells, the race to manufacture the most efficient solar cell is heating up. A steady roadmap to 45% efficiency in five years and 50% efficiency in 10 years is feasible.
The report, titled “Putting High-Concentrating Photovoltaics into Focus,” is part of the Lux Research Solar Systems Intelligence service.