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Home > Press > High-end vs low cost thin film, which will be the winning approach?

Abstract:
The thin film PV industry will be segmented in two main markets by 2015: low cost and high quality thin films. In the run-up to the 2nd Thin Film Solar Summit Europe, Cristian Cavazzuti, GM at Pramac Swiss and Lynn Sha, GM at QS solar have shared their views on the future of this technology.

High-end vs low cost thin film, which will be the winning approach?

Berlin, Germany | Posted on February 14th, 2010

It is widely anticipated that the thin film market share will continue to grow in the coming years. However, which will be the winning approach? In the run-up to the 2nd Thin Film Solar Summit Europe taking place March 17-18 in Berlin, Cristian Cavazzuti, General Manger at Pramac Swiss and Lynn Sha, General Manager at QS solar have shared their views on the future of thin film for 2015.

The full interview can be seen at: www.thinfilmtoday.com/eu/experts-discuss-future.shtml.

The industry will be segmented in two main markets by 2015 according to Mr. Cavazzuti. He believes that there will be a clear division between low cost and high quality thin film. According to Pramac Swiss's GM, the low cost per watt products will be aimed at large ground mounted installations while the second one will develop within the BAPV and BIPV markets with high end products like the Micromorph® thin film manufactured by Pramac Swiss. Mr.Cavazzuti predicts great growth potential for thin film within BAPV and BIPV as it "can reach 50% of the market, being the other 50% for high efficiency mono/poli."

Ms. Lynn Sha pointed out that, although the industry is expected to continue growing, the heavy reliance on FIT and other subsidies must stop; "schemes will continue to fall as there is no reason for the government to invest so much money every year" she states. For QS Solar's GM "the real bottle neck of this industry is the high cost factor" as "what matters at the end of the day is USD/watt and USD/kw/h."

At this stage, where the game rules for thin film are changing, it is difficult to predict which approach will prevail - the low cost thin films or the high end products? As per now, it seems that there is a place for everybody. On the one hand, the high end products might be benefited as "some governments have started to discourage ground mounted systems and are pushing into building application and self consumption," says Mr. Cavazzuti; on the other hand, as Ms. Lynn Sha points out "the module cost plus the BOS is still too high", therefore, lower prices are a main selling point in certain geographical regions and for certain applications.

Although QS Solar and Pramac Swiss have different approaches, for each one of them, the formula is clear:
Pramac Swiss is a high end manufacturer that offers high quality and technology thin films. They focus to serve the customer who looks at the electricity that can be produced over 30 to 35 years of the module life and not the one who looks at the day-to-day watt savings.
QS Solar is a manufacturer that aims to develop the lowest cost worldwide, good quality and non-subsidy PV modules. They are focused in popularizing the solar energy by achieving on-grid electricity per Kw/h at USD 0.08.

Cristian Cavazzuti and Lynn Sha will be participating in the 2nd Thin Film Solar Summit EU alongside with Ilias Garidis, COO at Heliosphera. They will be taking part in a panel session that will address thin film's future moves and new opportunities. For more information visit: www.thinfilmtoday.com/eu.

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