HCPV technology to see rapid growth

Alternative photovoltaic technology producers in thin films – cadmium telluride (CdTe) and copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS) – organic photovoltaics and novel applications have all suffered as the extremely fast price reductions from c-Si manufacturers continue to deliver them market share. Despite this, Lux Research writes in a new report, HCPV is set to realize compound annual growth rates of around 31 percent to 2017.

Given the room for cost redutions to be made in HCPV, producers should be able to achieve levelized costs of elecctricity (LCOE) that are competitive with c-Si in areas with high irradiance by 2020. However, warns Lux, "whether any firms will remain alive to compete then is in question."

Cost reduction factors for HCPV include economies of scale delivering material cost savings, which, writes Lux, will "provide ripe opportunities for material suppliers." HCPV installed system costs are forecast in the report to fall from US$3/W in 2012 to $2.33 in 2017.

The new Lux Research report is titled "Putting High-Concentrating Photovoltaics into Focus" and it investigates how cost reductions in the HCPV field, when coupled with a shift of photovoltaic markets away from low direct normal irradiance (DNI), will see the technology approach competitiveness with tracked c-Si in 2017 and reach it in 2018.

HCPV technologies target utility-scale applications in locations with high DNI. It involves concentrating sunlight "hundreds of times the intensity of the sun […] onto the most advanced and expensive solar cells available today," writes Lux Research. HCPV modules are mounted on dual-axel mounting systems. Its development has lagged behind its fixed c-Si competitors, Lux Research observes.

However given shifting subsidy markets, away from Europe and into more high DNI areas, the reports authors predict "torrid" CAGR growth to 697 megawatts (MW) in 2017. However the major hurdle facing HCPV producers remain surviving the current competitive market.