Cover Image

High-Concentration Photovoltaics Business and Technology Update Report

This publication has been discontinued on June 21, 2014.

How can III-V cells compete with cheap crystalline silicon PV?


As of March 2013, approximately 120 HCPV installations have been installed throughout the world, accounting for a total capacity of about 130 MW. This is only approximately 1/1000 of the total installations of flat-plate PV, represented mainly by crystalline silicon.

The main advantage of High-Concentration Photovoltaics (HCPV) over flat-plate PV is high efficiency - surpassing 40% (at cell level), and reaching about 30% at module level. This level of efficiency is not achievable by conventional PV technologies. As we show in the report, the high efficiency of HCPV systems will be the key driver for HCPV in the future. The HCPV cell efficiency must be significantly increased (without significantly increasing manufacturing costs) in order to increase the differentiation between HCPV and its strong competitor, conventional flatplate PV, and to reduce the system costs. The high system efficiency, together with high electricity production (kWh/kW installed), makes HCPV Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) competitive with that of fossil-fueled power plants in some sunny locations.

The electricity cost produced by
HCPV systems may be competitive in some locations

(Yole Développement, March 2013)

Most technology challenges identified early, at the beginning of HCPV development, have been resolved already. However, today's relatively weak HCPV market development is related not only to the technology issues, but also to the lack of financing and low interest among potential customers. To speed up the HCPV market growth, the bankability of HCPV projects must be improved at all levels, including technology development and testing, and minimizing the uncertainty about the solar resources at the future installation site, etc. This report deals with the factors that can improve the bankability of HCPV installation projects and help the HCPV market to grow. Based on future technological achievements and improved bankability, two scenarios - conservative and optimistic - are proposed for the 2013-2020 HCPV market evolution.

Two scenarios for the HCPV market growth

(Yole Développement, March 2013)


HCPV market is very restricted and there is no place for less-competitive players. Several companies have recently stopped or reduce their HCPV activity due to either strong competition or losing interest in a small and low-margin market such as HCPV is today.

HCPV module production capacities largely surpass the current market demand

(Yole Développement, March 2013)

The leaders are not yet established, and new companies with innovative technology or business models may take a lead in the future. As shown in the report, with rising market volume, there will be an increasing trend for vertical integration in the near future. Although more vertical integration is associated with a higher business risk, it enables better control of the system performance and total system costs.

The (at least) partial vertical integration together with 100 MW+ in-house production capacities may enable companies like Suncore or Soitec to get a significant advantage compared to their competitors.

An alternative approach is to subcontract most of the business and thus lower a company's capital needs and at the same time transfer most of the business risk to subcontractors. This approach is advantageous for small companies with limited sources of financing. In the report we analyze both approaches.


The performance of each individual element of an HCPV system says nothing about the performance of the whole system. All elements must be carefully optimized and matched in order to get optimal system performance, as shown in this report.

HCPV technology roadmap

(Yole Développement, March 2013)

The report provides a detailed overview of all HCPV components needed to understand the challenges related to HCPV systems: wafer, epiwafer, solar cell, receiver module, concentrating optics, HCPV module, inverter and tracking system.

The analysis of different approaches (Ge vs. GaAs wafer, PMMA vs. SOG optics, etc.) allows identification of the main technology trends as well as materials and manufacturing techniques used. It helps to evaluate the potential of different HCPV components for cost reduction and performance enhancement.

The comparison of competing approaches enables identification of the best technology choice. The report also deals with manufacturing challenges manual vs. automated module assembly, main factors to lower manufacturing costs, etc.).


  • To guide strategic business decisions related to this technology which is not yet considered mature - several technological choices are under development to achieve the same function.
  • To understand the characteristics of the “project-business” associated with Concentrated Photovoltaics and to adapt the technology and project development in order to increase the bankability of installation projects.
  • For newcomers to guide their strategic and technology choice and to evaluate their accessible market.
  • For existing players to monitor the evolution of the market and the positioning of their customers and competitors.


  • Updated market data for wafers, epiwafers and installations
  • Updated costs of HCPV modules & systems
  • Overview of the best suited locations for HCPV with focus on South Africa and Latin America
  • Presentation of key factors to improve the bankability of HCPV installation projects


  • 2013 to 2020 HCPV market forecast
  • HCPV system cost breakdown
  • 2013 to 2020 HCPV market forecast - wafers & epiwafers
  • Levelized cost of electricity for HCPV in 2013 and its evolution as a function of DNI
  • 2013 HCPV cell & module production capacities
  • Update of HCPV company activities


10x Technology, 3M, 3TIER, Abengoa Solar, Aixtron, AkzoNonel, Amonix, Arima EcoEnergy, AXT, Azur Space Solar Power GmbH., CCT, CESI, Concentrator Optics, GmbH., Cool Earth, Cyrium Technologies, Daido Steel, Docter Optics, Dongfang Electric, Dow Chemical, Dowa, Edmund Optics, Emcore, Envoltek, Epistar, EverPhoton, Evonik, Freiberger Compound Material, Fronius, GeoModel Solar, GreenVolts, Grenzebach, Heliotrop, Hitachi Cable, Irsolav, Isofoton, IQE, Isuzu Glass, JDSU, JX Crystals, Magpower, Meteotest, Microlink Devices, Mitsubishi Chemicals, LPI, Neosemitech, Pairan, Persal, Powercom, Reflexite, RFMD, RSOT, San'An, SAT Control, Semprius, Sener, Sharp, SMA, Soitec, Solapoint, Solar Junction, Solar Systems, Solergy, SolFocus, Spectrolab, Spirox Corp., Sumitomo, Suncore, Suntrix, Sylarus, Transvalor, Umicore, VBTech GmbH., Veeco, Xiamen Powerway, ZenithSolar.


Milan Rosina is an analyst at Yole Développement for photovoltaic market & technologies. Before joining Yole Développement, he worked as a research scientist and a project manager in the fields of photovoltaics, microelectronics and LED. He has more than 12 years scientific and industrial experience with prominent research institutions and an utility company.

Amongst his experience are new equipment and processes development, due diligences with photovoltaic companies, photovoltaic technology and market surveys, analysis of various photovoltaic technologies and elaboration of photovoltaic roadmaps. He is the co-author of two issued patents in the field of crystalline silicon solar cell processing.

Table of Contents

  • List of acronyms
  • Why purchase this report?
  • What's changed compared to the last Yole Développement's HCPV report ?
  • Content of the report
  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • Solar electricity generation
    • PV, HCPV and CSP technologies
    • HCPV within the PV technologies
  • Where are the best locations for HCPV?
    • High DNI is crucial
    • Solar resources data suppliers
    • Other criteria for the location choice
    • What are the most promising HCPV markets?
  • How to develop a large-volume HCPV market?
    • Main market drivers for HCPV
    • Main criteria of technology choice for utility companies
    • HCPV is adapted for some PV market segments only
    • The uncertainties related to HCPV projects must be minimized
  • 2013 to 2020 HCPV market forecast
    • PV market forecast
    • Two scenarios for the future HCPV market growth
    • Wafer and epiwafer market forecast
  • Cost of HCPV
    • LCOE
    • HCPV module cost breakdown
    • HCPV system cost breakdown
    • How to reduce LCOE for HCPV?
  • HCPV system components
    • Key messages
    • Overview
    • Wafer
    • Epiwafer
    • Solar cell
    • Receiver module
    • Concentrating optics
    • HCPV module
    • Inverter
    • Tracking system
    • HCPV system
    • HCPV technology roadmap
  • HCPV supply chain
    • HCPV suppliers and their positioning
    • Multijunction cell production capacity
    • HCPV module production capacity
    • HCPV business risk evaluation
  • General conclusion
  • Appendix: Presentation of Yole Développement
Show More
Not Available
Get Notified
Email me when related reports are published