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Report: Organic photovoltaics face stiff headwinds

Market news |
By eeNews Europe

OPVs will almost certainly materialize over the next decade, driven by unique form factors and the potential for lower costs, according to a report from Lux Research, which projects a market that reaches $159 million in 2020.

OPV modules use carbon-containing polymers or molecules to convert light to electricity.

"While part of OPV’s appeal is the hope of low costs, we found it won’t beat crystalline silicon or inorganic thin film on cost per watt," said Alex Carter, a Lux Research Associate and the report’s lead author, in a statement. "As a result, developers will focus on niche applications where OPV provides other capabilities like transparency and flexibility. There will be some success, but not the disruptive impact developers are proclaiming."

To estimate likely prospects for OPV through 2020, Lux Research calculated the total market size addressable by OPV in five segments, according to the adoption potential for OPV’s two main technology categories – bulk heterojunction (BHJ) OPV devices and dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC).

OPV will reach $159 million on the back of building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), and defense. Lux Research projects an OPV market reaching 97 MW and $159 million in 2020. Here, defense signifies the largest market, with BIPV close behind. BHJ technology dominates early but, as flexible DSSC devices mature, they gain to capture 53 percent of the market in 2020.

Defense applications are driven by portable power for soldiers. The ease of integrating OPV into certain flexible structures and the ability to pattern it could help set it apart for some applications – like integration into tents and even uniforms – and allow it to gain some market share. In defense applications, OPV will expand to 34 MW in 2020, pulling in $64 million in revenues, 60 percent in DSSC and the rest in BHJ technologies, according to the report.


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