Solar Energy: A Practical Green Energy Source
- According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), cumulative solar PV capacity reached almost 398 GW and generated over 460 TWh, representing around 2% of global power output, in 2017. A total of 99.1GW of grid-connected solar was installed in 2017. This was equivalent to 30% year-on-year growth over the 76.6 GW solar capacity installation in 2016.
- Rise in scale of production of solar modules and increase in demand for highly efficient solar cells are expected to propel the adoption of laser processes in industrial manufacture of solar cells
- Lasers have been widely used for various processes including cutting, drilling, welding, marking, and engraving of solar cells. Demand for laser systems is anticipated to increase substantially in the manufacture of thin-film solar modules for applications such as module edge isolation scribing and cell interconnects in the near future. Drilling of solar glass by laser has been an innovative approach with several advantages over conventional drilling techniques used in the photovoltaic industry.
- Strong growth in the global photovoltaics (PV) industry has largely been driven by factors such as rise in demand for electricity and renewable energy generation. Favorable economic policies of several nations offering subsidies for the production of modules and electricity generation using PV are expected to provide significant potential for the solar laser drilling market.
Capacity Expansions across Solar Industry Key Driver of Solar Laser Drilling Market
- The 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change aims to limit the global average temperature rise below 2?C. This is likely to necessitate the reduction of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by more than 70% by 2050, as compared to the 2015 levels. This can only be achieved with large-scale deployment of renewable forms of energy, including solar energy.
- Solar energy is anticipated to be one of the essential pillars of environmentally-friendly power supply. Solar PV is expected to lead renewable electricity capacity growth, expanding by almost 580 GW by 2023.
- Using a laser to drill holes is preferred, since it introduces energy selectively at the drilling position, with no mechanical contact of the drilling tool. As there is no tool wear-out, and laser emission can be organized precisely, the laser drilling process becomes highly reproducible and thus, facilitates efficient factory automation.
- The share of solar energy exceeded 36% of all newly added power capacities in 2018. All solar photovoltaic power plants together accounted for just 2.2% of the world’s electricity output in 2018. Thus, despite the recent dominating role of solar in annual power generation, there exists vast untapped potential for solar energy and it is renewables.
- Laser drilling is expected to act as a sustainable and diverse technology solution to efficiently transform solar radiation to thermal or electrical energy
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Crystalline Silicon and Thin-film Solar Cells Manufacturers to Boost Demand for Solar Laser Drilling
- Silicon-based solar cells (mono- and poly-crystalline silicon) represent the first generation of solar cells. As of 2017, the silicon-based solar cells covered more than 80% of the world’s installed solar capacity.
- Thin-film solar cells based on Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS), Cadmium Telluride (CdTe), or amorphous silicon represent the second generation of solar cells, and serve as the low-cost substitutes to crystalline silicon cells
- Thin-film systems require less material per surface, avoid costly purification steps, and do not necessitate silver electric contacts vis-à-vis silicon-based solar cells. The solar laser drilling market is likely to offer significant potential for crystalline silicon (c-Si) and thin-film solar cell variants owing to the accuracy, cost-efficiency, and flexibility associated with solar laser drilling.
Solar Photovoltaics to Drive Demand for Solar Laser Drilling
- Solar energy is estimated to be the most effective renewable source in addressing the energy problem owing to the dwindling non-renewable sources of energy such as fossil fuels and increase in demand for electricity.
- The global solar industry envisions to reduce the cost of electricity generation. Solar laser drilling industry is estimated to mark increasing opportunities by 2027, to meet the goal of low cost of ownership in industrial manufacturing through improved module efficiencies, reduced process costs and higher throughput.
- Solar power enhances energy diversity and hedges against price volatility of fossil fuels, thus stabilizing costs of electricity generation in the long term. Low cost of solar is expected to attract several countries to consider this unique, flexible, and distributed clean power technology in the near future.
Asia Pacific to Contribute Significantly to Solar Laser Drilling Market
- In terms of region, the global solar laser drilling market can be split into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa
- Demand for solar laser drilling is expected to be high in Asia Pacific during the forecast period, particularly driven by China and India
- China installed 52.8 GW capacity in 2017. This accounted for 53.3% of the world’s solar capacity.
- As a part of its Paris Agreement commitments, the Government of India has set an ambitious target of achieving 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. This includes 100 GW of solar capacity addition and 60 GW of wind power capacity. 60 solar cities would be developed in India as part of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s Solar Cities program.
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Key Manufacturers in Solar Laser Drilling Market
Key manufacturers operating in the solar laser drilling market include:
- MITSUBOSHI DIAMOND INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD.
- SPI LASERS LIMITED
- IPG Photonics Corporation
- Sahajanand Laser Technology Limited (SLTL Group)
- Perfect Laser
Global Solar Laser Drilling Market: Research Scope
Global Solar Laser Drilling Market, by Solar Cell Type
- Crystalline Silicon (c-Si)
- Amorphous Silicon (a-Si)
- Cadmium Telluride (CdTe)
- Others [Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIS or CIGS), Dye-sensitized Solar Cell (DSC), Perovskite Solar Cell (PSC), and Other Materials]
Global Solar Laser Drilling Market, by Laser Type
- Fiber Lasers
- Continuous Wave (CW)
- Solid State Lasers
Global Solar Laser drilling Market, by Region
- North America
- Rest of Europe
- Asia Pacific
- Rest of Asia Pacific
- Latin America
- Rest of Latin America
- Middle East & Africa
- South Africa
- Rest of Middle East & Africa
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