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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.
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