Tier-One Technology Tracker: Charting the Momentum of Thin-Film Leaders Solar Frontier and First Solar

January 13, 2017 | State of the Market Report

First Solar and Solar Frontier are the two leading manufacturers of thin-film modules. As both are champions are different materials (CdTe vs. CIGS respectively), they also have very distinct presences in the global photovoltaic industry. With similar technology advantages over crystalline silicon modules, we assess how these two companies have diverged to pursue different areas of the market and what their future prospects. To compare the two, we determine their relative momentum and identify evolving strategies that can change their dynamic in the industry – particularly with their pursuit of utility-scale vs distributed applications and their accelerating technology improvements.

Coverage Area

  • Owning the Energy Transition

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Landscape
    First Solar and Solar Frontier are at the head of thin-film development, but with different core technologies and a very disparate presence in the global photovoltaic industry.
  • Analysis
    First Solar charges ahead with strong momentum in technology advancements and product strategy, but Solar Frontier is close enough to pull ahead if it can improve its R&D transition.
  • Outlook

Lead Analyst

Tyler Ogden


Shane Hall
Cosmin Laslau, Ph.D.