Will The Remaining Thin Film Solar Companies Make It?
While the solar bankruptcies that have been going on for the last year or so are nothing new, the pace has recently accelerated. With even the biggest thin film manufacturer, First Solar finding its products noncompetitive in the face of cheap Chinese c-Si solar modules, the smaller start ups are facing extinction. Even the older established companies are now declaring bankruptcy as they see no prospects even in the future.
Odersun and Konarka are the two thin film companies that have gone down in recent times. In an earlier post, prediction of a second wave of thin film bankruptcies had been given with Suntech exiting the thin film game. That prediction is coming true with thin film companies giving up with no prospects of them ever being able to match the Chinese crystalline solar panel costs which continue to fall by a dramatic 15-20% each year.
Coupled with low efficiency and low scale, these smaller companies, despite their innovative technologies, have no hope. Even consumers of Oerlikon’s a-Si technology have started closing their factories even as Oerlikon has sold its thin film division to Japanese semiconductor equipment heavyweight Tokyo Electron. Note: Applied Materials closed it’s a-Si division during the first wave of thin film bankruptcies in 2009 and 2010.
The field of thin film solar still has players mainly among the big industrial companies like Sharp and Solar Frontier with a few smaller survivors like Miasole and Nanosolar. It remains to be seen whether these companies can manage to survive this brutal downturn which has already led to the shuttering of thousands of solar companies and jobs.
Thin Film Technology – Major Players
Solar Thin Film Technology has been growing rapidly despite falling costs of the mainstream Photovoltaic Crystalline Silicon Technology. While a number of Weaker Hands in Thin Film have downed shutters, thin film producers continue to grow and expand. The massive growth potential of Solar Energy makes it possible for both of these PV technologies to flourish.
Thin Film Technology unlike c-Si has a number of variants. Amorphous Silicon (a-Si),Copper Indium Gallium Sulphide (CIGs) and Cadmium Tellurium (Cd-Te) are the 3 main types of thin film technology. And there are a number of different manufacturers.
CIGs Technology is said to have the most potential in improving efficiency and competing with c-Si, however Cd-Te is currently the top dog as the world’s biggest solar producer First Solar currently uses this technology. a-Si technology is not that hot with low efficiencies however Oerlikon and Sharp are pushing ahead with developing this technology.
Here’s a list of the world’s top Thin Film Companies:
- First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR)
- Solar Frontier
- Abound Solar
- General Electric (NYSE:GE)
- Saint gobain-Hyundai
- Trony Solar
Will More Thin Film Solar Companies Go Belly Up? originally appeared in Green Chip Stocks. Green Chip Review is a free 2x-per-week newsletter, is the first advisory to focus exclusively on investments in alternative and renewable energies.
Green Chip Stocks Editors & Contributors Jeff Siegel Jeff Siegel is the managing editor of Green Chip Stocks, an independent investment research service that focuses exclusively on renewable energy and organic and natural food markets. Nick Hodge One of the bright young minds in today's cleantech industry, Nick is putting his knowledge of nascent green markets to use in several ways... Nick is the co-author of a best-selling book and has interviewed dozens of times for TV and Web; his keen insight, uncanny foresight, and global contacts have led to double- and triple-digit wins for his readers, time after time.
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