The global solar cell market was estimated at 182.4 GW in 2014. The rising demand for electricity coupled with the increasing consumer awareness concerning the benefits of renewable resources is anticipated to have a positive impact on the market growth. Moreover, rising infrastructural developments together with rapid growth in the industrial sector are estimated to drive demand over the forecast period.
The increasing demand for a reliable, clean and eco-friendly energy source to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels owing to their depletion is projected to propel demand for solar cells. The technological development in reducing the manufacturing cost and improving performance efficiency is expected to drive the solar cell market.
The government regulations in various economies promote the utilization of solar energy systems leading to the emergence of new opportunities in the industry. Stringent government regulations related to the reduction in environmental impact are expected to drive the market demand for renewable energy resources.
The increasing demand for PV systems for utility, commercial and residential applications owing to superior efficiency and lower initial investments, is anticipated to augment the growth of solar cell market. The market is distinguished by combination in the value chain by various companies such as SolarWorld, SunEdison, and First Solar.
The solar cell market is segmented on the basis of product into thin film and silicon wafers. The silicon wafer market segment including monocrystalline and multicrystalline accounted for over 90.0% of the total installation capacity in 2014.
The demand for silicon wafer exceeded over 170.0 GW in 2014 of which monocrystalline silicon wafer contributed to over 57.0 GW. The high efficiencies of the product coupled with the high availability of raw material, which has lead to the dominance of silicon wafers in the market. However, shortage in raw material supply owing to decline in silicon production is expected to hamper the growth of the market over the projected period.
The demand for multicrystalline silicon cells is expected to witness the fastest growth as opposed to its counterparts at a CAGR of over 25%. The overall product cost is comparatively lower owing to simplicity in the operating technology used in production process, which in turn is expected to have a positive impact on the industry growth.
The thin film market accounted for over 10GW in 2014 in terms of volume. The thin film market is classified as CdTe, CIGS and amorphous silica based on the raw material. The increasing demand for thin film in commercial and residential applications is estimated to aid the market growth.
The combination of CIGS in construction materials including cement conceivably enables the entire structure to act as a power generation unit. The transparency and flexibility linked with these products are anticipated to have a positive impact on the market growth.
Europe accounted for 45% of the overall installed capacity in 2014. The government regulations favoring the PV installations are projected to drive market growth in Europe. The increasing demand for solar cells in the utility and commercial sector is anticipated to augment market growth.
The decrease in PV prices is projected to explore new opportunities for crystalline silicon modules over the estimated period. In addition, advancements in technology in improving the operating efficiency of thin film solar cells are anticipated to increase its demand in commercial and residential applications.
The demand for the solar cell in North America was estimated to be over 20 GW in 2014. High PV installations owing to the rising consumer awareness towards benefits in cost associated with the renewable energy systems in the region is expected to drive market growth. However, lack of incentives and federal subsidy after 2016 is expected to witness a reduction in the installation in residential and commercial segments which is expected to hamper growth.
Competitive Market Share Insights
The major players in the solar cell market include First Solar Inc., SunPower Corporation, Indosolar Limited, Sharp Corporation, SolarWorld AG, Canadian Solar Inc., GreenBrilliance, Yingli Solar, SunEdison Inc., Tata Power Systems Limited, Borg Inc., and Trina Solar Limited.
The industry is a combination of companies integrated through different stages of the value chain particularly from raw material to module manufacturing. The companies operating individually supply the end-users either through their supply outlets (sales/distribution centers) or through distribution channels. In these cases, distributors act as connectors between end-users and companies, by providing technological assistance, aftermarket services, and logistics.
Global Solar Cell Product Outlook (Installed capacity, GW, 2012 - 2022)
• Silicon Wafer
• Thin Film
• Cadmium Telluride
• Amorphous silicon
• Copper Indium Gallium Selenide
Global Solar Cell Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 2012 - 2022)
• North America
• Asia Pacific
• Latin America
Research Support Specialist, USA