The latest PV Equipment Quarterly report from NPD Solarbuzz forecasts thin film market share to decrease to 7% of new PV production during 2017, with a decline each year up until then.
Annual investments in new thin film equipment exceeded $1 billion from 2007 to 2012 with many new companies stepping into thin film production. However, thin film investment is expected to take a plunge in 2013 to just over US$340 million. The segment saw a growth spur from 3% in 2000 to 16% in 2009. But investments have been strongly decreasing since 2011.
First Solar and Solar Frontier are two companies that are currently holding the bulk share of thin film production. Both companies will account for almost 75% of thin film production in 2014 according to NPD Solarbuzz. Both are also expected to add new thin film manufacturing capacity from 2014 to 2017. Additionally both First Solar and Solar Frontier are also focused on downstream projects as a means of driving internal production.
Finlay Colville, vice-president at NPD Solarbuzz stated, "For thin-film to return to double-digit market share, investments are required from new entrants. While the focus in the past was for new thin-film capacity in Europe and the U.S., emerging regions across the Middle-East, Africa and Latin America may provide the funding and resources for the next investment cycle."