Ultra-thin solar cells are being increasingly used in low-load bearing buildings, and spacecraft, aerospace, and automotive industries due to their cost-effective and environment-friendly nature. Owing to these advantages, such solar cells are being considered as a better alternative to silicon-based photovoltaic (PV) cells. Moreover, low weight ultra-thin cells, on account of their high-power output, are ideal for use in automobile batteries, sensors and actuators in wearable electronics, soft robotics, and energy storage devices in spaceships and aircrafts. Similarly, the low weight of such cells makes them ideal for low-load bearing buildings.
In addition, the declining manufacturing cost of such energy storage devices is expected to accelerate the ultra-thin solar cells market at a CAGR of 56.9% during the forecast period (2020–2030). According to P&S Intelligence, the market generated revenue of $30.0 million in 2019. The final cost of solar electricity is majorly determined by the price of PV cells. Even though the levelized cost of energy (LCoE) of PV panels is lower than other renewable energy sources, it is still substantially higher than fossil fuels.
Categories under the technology segment of the ultra-thin solar cells market include gallium arsenide (GaAs), cadmium telluride (CdTe), and copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS). Under this segment, the CdTe category held the largest market share in 2019 and it is expected to retain its dominance throughout the forecast period. This is because CdTe technology is the only technology that currently gives competition to crystalline silicone (c-Si) PV cells. Unlike other technologies that are currently in the testing phase, this is the only technology that has been put to commercial use.
Geographically, Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the largest share in the ultra-thin solar cells market and it is expected to exhibit the fastest growth during the forecast period. This can be attributed to the rising engagement of regional market players in R&D activities to enhance efficiency and reduce the cost of PV panels while keeping the profits intact. These efforts have resulted in the development of ultra-thin solar cells, which are being used in the production of solar-powered electric vehicles (EVs).
Thus, the declining costs of solar cells and surging R&D activities in the development of cost-effective and efficient solar cells are expected to boost the adoption of ultra-thin solar cells across the world.