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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2012, Article ID 768368, 6 pages
Review Article

Thin Film Photovoltaics: Markets and Industry

Renewable Energy Unit, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Via E. Fermi 2749, 21027 Ispra (VA), Italy

Received 5 December 2011; Accepted 21 December 2011

Academic Editor: Bhushan Sopori

Copyright © 2012 Arnulf Jäger-Waldau. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Since 2000, total PV production increased almost by two orders of magnitude, with a compound annual growth rate of over 52%. The most rapid growth in annual cell and module production over the last five years could be observed in Asia, where China and Taiwan together now account for about 60% of worldwide production. Between 2005 and 2009, thin film production capacity and volume increased more than the overall industry but did not keep up in 2010 and 2011 due to the rapid price decline for solar modules. Prices for photovoltaic electricity generation systems have more than halved over the last five years making the technology affordable to an ever-increasing number of customers worldwide. With worldwide over 60 GW cumulative installed photovoltaic electricity generation capacity installed in November 2011, photovoltaics still is a small contributor to the electricity supply, and another 10 to 15 years of sustained and aggressive growth will be required for photovoltaic solar electricity to become one of the main providers of electricity. To achieve this, a continuous improvement of the current solar cell technologies will be necessary.