Looking for a Future in Organic Photovoltaics

April 08, 2011 | State of the Market Report

Organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices use organic (carbon-containing) polymers or molecules to convert light to electricity. Their potential for low costs, as well as their ability to enable unique form factors and appearance, has made them a subject of great commercial interest. So far, performance – efficiency and lifetime – has been lacking, and high-volume, low-cost production hasn’t materialized. We find that while OPV costs will drop dramatically, it won’t be able to compete with other photovoltaic (PV) technologies in traditional solar markets in the next decade. Instead, OPV must develop its own markets in building-integrated PV, defense, the developing world, signage, and consumer electronics, where it can provide a unique value proposition. We project the OPV market in the most likely scenario will be $159 million in 2020, but great uncertainty means that in other scenarios it could reach as high as $470 million or as little as $33 million.

Coverage Area

  • Owning the Energy Transition

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Landscape
    Organic photovoltaics (OPV) continue to lag competing technologies as well as their own roadmaps on performance and cost. Markets accessible to OPV by 2020 are narrow and diffuse
  • Analysis
    The market for OPV modules in 2020 could reach as high as $470 million or as little as $33 million; most likely scenario is $159 million, led by defense, BIPV, and developing world uses.
  • Outlook
  • Endnotes

Contributors

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