Nano Technology Could Be
the Next Big Thing in Solar Power
> RENE WABLE POWER is all about innovation. One new break-
through begets another, and the cycle persists as we continue to
do more with less.
The growth of solar power is no exception, as the technology
of photovoltaics (PV) benefits from innovations in cell materials
and other component parts.
Confirming this dynamic, one recent report identifies a
burgeoning new market within the solar industry. The report,
“Materials for Next Generation Photovoltaics—2014–2021,” was
authored by the research firm NanoMarkets.
It identifies a number of growing and emerging nano materi-
als for solar cells, which show potential for growth in the next
six or seven years. They include advanced silicon or crystalline
silicon (c-Si) technologies, next generation thin-film PV, organic
cells, dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC), perovskite materials, and
other nano materials.
The report identifies changes taking place around each group
of materials that are driving the incentive for innovation and
growth. For example, it notes that competitive cost-cutting in
the field of c-Si has encouraged more aggressive pursuit of new
technologies, such as n-type cells, selective emitter options,
wrap-through variants, and cells with rear-side passivation
Similar dynamics have affected the other PV technologies.
The report is especially bullish on a promising new material for
solar cells. It notes that perovskite cells have seen a dramatic
increase in efficiency on recent years, going from 3. 8 percent in
2009 to 19. 3 percent in May 2014.
The report also identifies other nano technologies that could
benefit the industry, including silver nanowires, carbon nano-
tubes, quantum dots and graphene.
Collectively, the report projects sharp growth in the PV nano
market, from its current $20 million to $262 million in 2017 and
$2.1 billion in 2021.
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