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Thin film material market: A paradigm shift from conventional material
The thin film material market is directly influenced by the growth in the end-user industries, such as photovoltaic solar cells, MEMS, electrical, and others. Owing to the increasing demand for photovoltaic solar cells from both mature and emerging economies, the market promises better growth in the coming years. Increased government regulations for renewable energy also contribute to the market growth of the photovoltaic solar cells industry.
The thin film material market is likely to witness better growth from 2013 to 2018. Europe represents the single-largest market for thin film material for the same period, followed by North America, and Asia-Pacific. In terms of applications, photovoltaic solar cells, MEMS, semiconductor, electrical and optical coating are major applications of thin film material. Cadmium telluride (CdTe) is the major type of thin film material consumed, while the usage of amorphous silicon is gradually being phased out. New innovations in the existing thin film material will find increased penetration in the existing end-user industry market when the performance to cost ratio reaches a desired level.
Europe to be the largest market
Europe is the leading consumer of thin film material globally. The demand for thin film material in the region is strong due to high usage in the growing end-user industries such as photovoltaic solar cells. The European Union had set out its 20-20-20 for 2020 directive, setting EU-wide targets for 20% reduction in greenhouse gases, 20% in energy efficiency savings, and also 20% of electricity to be generated from renewable sources. These renewable energy targets include usage of alternative energy resources such as solar heating and cooling, bioenergy, wind energy, and solar photovoltaic. These factors would have the biggest impact on the European thin film material market.
High demand from end-user industry
Thin film material owing to their superior properties, are used in different end-user industries. Their applications are constantly evolving and vary as per the changes in their base material. The different grades of various types of thin film material offer different properties, thereby expanding its application market. MEMS, photovoltaic, semiconductor, electrical circuit boards, and optical coating are some of the few examples of the many products that are improved upon with these versatile materials. Thin film material in photovoltaic are in high demand and it will surely continue to drive this market in the future.
CdTe demand will remain strong
Cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology is estimated to dominate the thin film material market in terms of market size and growth rate due to it offering enhanced efficiency and better $/watt ratio. CdTe films are chemically stable and offer relatively higher module efficiencies. They are easily manufactured at low costs via a variety of deposition techniques. CdTe technology had $0.59 /watt ratio in 2013, which is the best among other technologies in thin film material. Cadmium is toxic in nature because of which the European countries had banned its usage. Later this ban was revoked and the usage of cadmium is now restricted strictly to thin film material only.
Thin Film Material Market By Type (CdTe, CIGS, a-Si, Others), End-User Industry [Photovoltaic Solar Cells, MEMS, Semiconductors and Electrical (Circuit Boards), Optical Coating, Others], and Deposition Processes – Global Trends & Forecast to 2018
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