The rising demand for rooftop photovoltaic (PV) modules and advancements in the solar cell technology are driving the growth of the solar encapsulant market. In 2017, the market attained a size of $1,036.0 million, and it is predicted to generate a revenue of $4,555.4 million by 2023, progressing at a CAGR of 28.4% during the forecast period (2018–2023). Solar encapsulant refers to a thin-film sheet that guards the solar module or cell from external moisture, delamination, air and dust. It is also used to offer electrical and optical transmissivity to the solar module.
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Based on material, the solar encapsulant market is broadly classified into ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), polyolefin elastomer, and polyvinyl butyral (PVB). Out of these, during the historical period (2013–2017), the EVA category led the market, and in 2017, it held a volume share of 74.2%. It is further expected to maintain its lead during the forecast period, owing to benefits such as excellent toughness and elasticity, great adhesive strength, and effective protection against delamination and corrosion to solar cells.
On the basis of technology, the solar encapsulant market is bifurcated into thin-film and crystalline silicon solar technology. Of these, during the 2013–2017 period, crystalline silicon solar technology dominated the market in terms of volume and value, and it is predicted to lead it during the forecast period as well. This technology offers quicker payback pertaining to energy saving and higher conversion efficiency, due to which its deployment is rising.
This dominance of the category on the solar encapsulant market is ascribed to the rising focus of the market players on increasing the thin-film solar cells production capacity to meet the surging demand for solar panels. The semi-transparency and flexibility of solar thin-film modules escalates their adoption in handheld solar applications. Though the crystalline silicon solar technology is widely used in manufacturing solar modules, the fragile nature and the high production cost of crystalline modules have shifted manufacturers toward cost-efficient solar module-creation technology, such as the thin-film solar cell technology.
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With such technology, the mass production of solar cells has become easier and cost-efficient. Owing to these benefits, the demand for the thin-film encapsulants is anticipated to be boosted during the forecast period. Further, the PV technology is the most preferred technology for solar power generation, wherein with the help of solar cells, there is a direct conversion of the sunlight into electricity. Solar encapsulants, here, work as a shield that offer adhesion between the rear and the top surface of the PV module to guard it against moisture, high temperature, and external stress.
The production of PV modules is accelerating due to their advantages such as environmental substantiality, economic viability, and provision of clean energy. For instance, as per the China Photovoltaic Industry Association, in 2016, China grew its solar power production capacity to 48 GW, which is predicted to hit 110 GW by 2020. Further, technological advancements are also boosting the solar encapsulant market growth.
Hence, the increasing demand for PV modules and rising adoption of the thin-film solar cell technology are accelerating the market growth.
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