Just days after releasing its forecast on the return of balanace between supply and demand in the global PV market, the Boston-based analysts Lux Research on Tuesday released its latest report on the future of the PV materials market, forecasting a rebound in 2018.
In comparison with 2012, the materials market will grow from $17.8 billion to $27.2 billion in the next five years, witih metals, including polysilicon and metallic absorber materials, contributing some $12.8 billion of that sum. Polysilicon alone will account for a $6 billion market share due to the global demand of silicon modules.
"Differentiated materials that enable high cell or module efficiencies or longer lifetime will be able to earn a premium and cash in on the growing demand," said Fatima Toor, Lux Research analyst.
Toor added that the push towards improved quality would lead to materials innovations that would drive down the price per watt as well as the price per kilowatt hour.
In the next few years, materials for silicon module production will boom, reaching $23.8 billion in 2018. Materials such as backsheets, non-EVA encapsulants, metallization pastes and antireflection coatings will offer significant opportunities to material innovations.
As the solar industry tends to prioritize low price per kilowatt hour on top of low price per hour, effective planning and implementation for module quality improvement is also creating opportunities for materials developers.