According to this recent report from Linx-AEI Consulting, the global market for advanced chemicals and materials used in photovoltaic solar cells and modules might decline this year to $2.3 billion (probably because of the current economy) but it will resume strong growth by 2015 approaching around $15bn.
The driver of growth in the PV market will be the global end market demand for solar power, which is expected to grow from 5.7 GW to 36 GW over the same time period, said Linx-AEI.
The consulting group, cautions, however, that the solar energy industry is still strongly impacted by policy.
“There is a critical need for all value chain participants to continually monitor and understand levelized cost of energy, technology development, existing investment and changes in policy. This need has been clearly illustrated with the current turmoil in the supply of polysilicon.”
Clearly, chemical companies are responding to the solar energy’s blinding growth (*lol) with several recent investment announcements and product launches.
Evonik said it will build in Japan an integrated production facility for monosilane and its Aerosil product. Evonik said this is the first step in the positioning of the company’s solar silicon activities on the attractive Asian market.
Silanes are key components for solar cells. Silicon tetrachloride obtained as a by-product of monosilane production in Yokkaichi will be processed into AEROSIL® and marketed separately. The facility is expected to come on stream in 2011.
Dow Corning is setting up its second Solar Solutions Application Center this time in Korea. The first one is in Michigan, USA, which opened in May 2008.
The company said the Korean facility will enable engineers and scientists to work with customers to develop, evaluate, and pilot materials solutions used to manufacture solar panels. This center also expects to capture solar industry and manufacturing growth in Asia.
The laboratory of the Solar Solutions Application Center Korea is scheduled to open in late 2009 and pilot production equipment could come online by early 2010.
DuPont recently launched its new PV5200 Series photovoltaic (PV) encapsulant sheets, based on polyvinyl butyral (PVB) polymer technology. The company said the new PVB sheets offer physical and processing performance levels proven in laminated glass manufacturing, with additional features designed to meet the needs of thin-film solar power generation.
Besides the PV5200 Series, DuPont anticipates the launch of several other PV sheet technologies in 2009.
PolyOne launched in April its ECCOH™ Low Smoke and Fume, Zero Halogen (LSFOH) compounds for cables used in photovoltaic solar cells. The company said solar photovoltaic technology requires specific cabling systems with zero halogen, flame-retardant insulation and sheathing layers. The outer jacket must also be resistant to moisture, sunlight, heat, chemicals and abrasion.