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Putting High-Concentrating Photovoltaics into Focus

With subsidies for solar evaporating in developed, highly-penetrated markets, emerging markets with high solar resources will see demand grow at unprecedented rates. The shifting dynamic opens the door for high-concentrating photovoltaics (HCPV), as it is projected to display the fastest relative growth when compared with incumbent photovoltaic (PV) technologies. In this report, we take a close look at the cost structure and the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of HCPV systems with four different optics types and consider the factors that can reduce costs, such as efficiency improvements, economies of scale, and increased access to project capital. Considering current market trends, expect to see HCPV fully competitive with crystalline silicon technology on an LCOE basis before 2020 - though whether any firms will remain alive to compete then is in question.

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
      • Despite Material-Intensive Systems, HCPV Will Grow at a 31% CAGR
      • Increased Efficiency and Economies of Scale Will Bring HCPV Within Striking Distance of Mc-Si - But Not as Soon as it Hopes
  • Landscape
    • To Date, Concentrating Solar Power has Struggled - but HCPV is Chomping at the Bit
      • Under the Umbrella of Concentrating Solar Power, HCPV Shows Potential to Make a Significant Impact
      • A Plethora of Start-Ups have Joined the HCPV Fray, but Only a Handful Have Made an Impact
    • HCPV's Addressable Market Size Will Grow at a Torrid 31% CAGR Between 2011 and 2017
    • HCPV Uses the Most Advanced and Expensive Solar Cells Available Today - Because it Can
    • Optics Systems are the Core of HCPV Modules, but Have Room for Improvement
    • HCPV Modules Put All the Pieces Together
      • Dual-Axis Trackers are not an Option, but a Necessity
    • HCPV Faces Significant Challenges Ahead
    • Landscape Conclusions
  • Analysis
    • As HCPV Efficiency and Capacity Increase, Installed System Cost will Decrease
      • Optics Affect Module Cost, but are Not the Primary Drivers
      • Aggressive Cost Reduction Requires Innovation at all Segments of the Value Chain
    • HCPV's System Cost and LCOE will be competitive with x-Si - but not by 2017
      • HCPV Systems will be Cost-Competitive with Single-Axis-Tracked mc-Si in 2017
      • HCPV is on a Long-Term Path to LCOE Competitiveness with Mc-Si
  • Outlook
  • About Lux Research
  • Endnotes
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