The organic solar cell market is a niche market with a small number of players. According to a new Transparency Market Research (TMR) report, the global market opportunity for organic solar cells is expected to rise from US$36.94 mn in 2015 to US$97.41 mn by 2020. The top five players accounted for 61% of the market in 2012. Key players in the market are Heliatek GmbH, BELECTRIC OPV GmbH, and Disa Solar. With an undivided focus on R&D, leading players have developed innovative products operating at high efficiencies. In the coming few years, more new companies are expected to enter the market.
Companies such as Heliatek GmbH and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation are entering into strategic partnerships to receive the necessary support for the procurement of raw materials, funding, and distribution. Another strategy used by companies is to use their chemical development prowess to enter the organic solar cell market. A case in point would be The Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. The Japanese company is striving to make use of its chemical manufacturing expertise and global reach to gain a strong position in the organic solar cell market.
Flexibility and Customization Make Organic Solar Cells Popular
Organic materials used in the manufacturing of organic solar cells offers flexibility to customize the molecular properties as per the application. Organic solar cells can be tailored as per requirements into the shape or size desired. This increases the application areas of solar cells, thus fueling their demand. Organic solar cells are being used in build integrated photovoltaic (BIVP), phones, chargers, laptops, clothes, small autonomous devices, military applications, and transportation sector. Additionally, the lightness and thinness of these cells make them easier to be used on any surface without adding much extra weight.
The production of electricity using photovoltaic cells does not emit greenhouse gases. There is very less usage of energy during the manufacturing process, thus saving production cost. Additionally, lower energy payback time for organic solar cells makes them the preferred choice for adoption.
Shorter Lifespan Hampering Adoption of Organic Solar Cells
Organic solar cells are still in the developmental phase and thus, the efficiency and durability of these cells are not up to the mark. They are not as efficient as crystalline inorganic solar cells. Organic solar cells are unable to absorb a continuous spectrum of photons. These cells have a short lifespan. They are sensitive to heat-induced degradation in the presence of moisture and air and thus, can be easily damaged. Moreover, the solar cell technology is still in its nascent phase and requires few more years to be fully commercialized. All these factors are restricting the growth of the global organic solar cell market.
Immense Scope of Improvement Provides Opportunity for Players to Grow in Market
The growing competition among companies is expected to result in better efficiency, lower production cost, and improved lifespan of organic solar cells. Companies such as Solarmer Energy, Inc. have reached efficiency levels of over 12%. The increased demand for solar cells is expected to limit the drawbacks of efficiency and cost. This is because an increase in the demand of these cells will lead to mass production, which in turn will reduce the manufacturing cost.
On the basis of application, the BIPV segment is expected to lead and account for 37.93% of the market by 2020. By geography, Europe not only led in the past but is also expected to lead in the coming years. Europe is expected to account for 34.49% of the organic solar cell market by 2020. North America is expected to follow Europe in terms of holding significant shares in the market.
This information is based on the findings of a report published by Transparency Market Research titled “Organic Solar Cell Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2014 - 2020.”
The global organic solar cell market is segmented as follows:
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