The market for solar installations based on copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film panels will nearly double in size to $2.35 billion in 2015, as manufacturers signaled a breakout year in 2011 by taking advantage of falling production costs, improving module conversion efficiencies and increasing adoption in commercial rooftops. This according to a Lux Research (Boston, MA) report titled Sorting through the Maze of CIGS Technologies: Who Will Cash in on the Breakout Year?
CIGS solar cells boast high conversion efficiencies of as much as 13% and although production is currently dwarfed by that of lower cost conventional silica-based solar cells, with further gains in conversion efficiencies and lower prices through economies of scale, Mitsubishi Plastics (Tokyo) estimates that these thin film cells will account for approximately 5% of the 40-50 GW solar cell market by 2015. Targeting this growth, the converter has set up a plant in Tsukuba, Japan to manufacture front sheets for flexible thin film cells. Its first customer is Global Solar Energy (Tucson, AZ)....