FIGURE 2 Historical global PV production and U.S. market share.
SOURCE: Robert Margolis, Presentation at April 23, 2009, National Academies Symposium on “The Future of Photovoltaics Manufacturing in the United States.”
U.S. investors have been pursuing a much more diverse set of technologies than investors in other regions. Significant investments in the United States are going into thin-film technologies, multijunction concentrating PV technologies, and next-generation PV technologies. Of about 200 companies that received private-sector investment in the past three years, more than 100 are in the United States Asia has focused primarily on existing crystalline silicon technologies, with a small shift toward thin-film technologies during 2008. Asia also has been making significant investments in polysilicion production.
A Five-Year Projection
Dr. Margolis presented a meta-analysis of near-term projections from about a dozen analysts. According to this set of projections, a five-fold increase in PV production is expected to occur between 2008 and 2012. Crystalline silicon is expected to remain dominant, with thin-film technologies growing more rapidly than they have in the past. “But we’ve also learned that things can change really fast,” he said. “For example, the global economic crisis may bring about lots of changes going forward, and already many analysts have lowered their projected 10-25 percent.”