The high-concentrating photovoltaics (HCPV) market is poised to finally hit its stride, with a 31% compound annual growth rate expected until 2017, according to a new report from Lux Research.
Driven by emerging markets with high solar resources, the market for HCPV will grow to 697 MW in 2017, creating a system market worth $1.6 billion and a module market worth $700 million, and reaching a system price of $2.33/W.
‘HCPV has had very little success installing commercial systems to date,’ explains Ed Cahill, associate at Lux Research and lead author of the report." However, as markets shift due to subsidy cuts from distributed installations in low-[direct normal irradiance (DNI)] environments, such as Germany, to large installations in high-DNI environments, such as India, expect HCPV to grow at a faster rate than competing technologies.’
Lux Research analysts evaluated the emerging solar landscape and the prospects for HCPV and came to the following conclusions:
HCPV costs are coming down. HCPV systems will become cost-competitive with single-axis-tracked multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) in 2017, closing a 33% and 20% gap with fixed and tracked mc-Si systems, respectively. It also will gain cost parity with mc-Si for high-DNI, utility-scale projects in 2018. The cuts will come through lower shipping and labor costs, besides economies of scale.
Funding is key to success. Well-funded companies that expand intelligently will drive the HCPV market. For example, HCPV pioneer Amonix expanded too soon and too fast and has had to cut back. This leaves the door open for emerging players like Soitec, SunCore and SolFocus.
Developers are racing to build the most efficient solar cell. The race to manufacture the most efficient solar cell is heating up. A steady road map to 45% efficiency in five years and 50% efficiency in 10 years is feasible.