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Thin Film Solar PV Share to halve to 7% in 2016, from 16% now

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Thin Film Share to Plunge Further

We in Greenworldinvestor have been saying for a long time that thin film PV solar is a losing investment. There have been
numerous bankruptcies during the last major downturn in 2008; and this time has been even worse. Most of the thin film startups have gone belly up and there are only 2 significant thin film companies left. First Solar (FSLR) has managed to survive due to the high returning massive solar farms subsidized by DOE. Otherwise even this company would be in huge trouble now. Silicon PV technology has made massive advancements in the last few years leaving other the solar technologies such as solar thermal and thin film far behind.

Ramping up a new solar technology not only takes time but also huge amounts of money. Most startups that have been working for the last decade such as Nanosolar, Miasole have given up and there are only a few players left standing. Even giant General Electric (GE) recently gave up on its thin film Cadmium Tellerium technology. The company fired its workers and sold the technology to First Solar. Solar Frontier is the only CIGs company that has significant market share. The other companies are just trying to survive. FSLR has also announced its intention of producing silicon solar panels as the management does not see a great future for its own thin film technology. We know that FSLR Cd-Te panels are no longer cost competitive and have fallen far behind the lowest cost Chinese players. FSLR thin film equipment is at least 20% more costly than JKS solar panels. On top of that FSLR panels have also got lower efficiency which means higher BOS costs.

Read more about Solar Frontier Solar Panels.

Solarbuzz is estimating that thin film market share in the total global solar panel market will fall by more than half to just 7% in 2017 from 16% now. We concur and think that the share might go even lower. Thin Film can only work in niche applications such as flexible panels as well as BIPV applications. Mainstream use of thin film panels does not look feasible as silicon panels have gotten a huge lead over thin film.

Read more about Thin Film Bankruptcies:

First Wave

Second Wave


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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