In 2006 the world production of solar cells (also known as PVCs) was up 47% to 2.8 Gigawatts peak (GWp) and revenue generated by cell manufacturers was US$8.7 billion. VLSI expects world production to reach 3.9 GWp in 2007. Of this, 90% is multi-crystaline silicon, 6% amorphous thin film, and 4% is other technologies.
Total annual substrate area manufactured is a whopping 10M square meters. This is already greater than the area used for semiconductor production. It has the potential to be greater than TFT area produced because average roof surface area per consumer is far larger than TV viewing surface area per consumer.
The equipment market is still relatively small, clocking in at around $1B worth of new tools. It is small relative to semiconductor equipment spending to revenue ratios because there are fewer steps, solar cell makers buy far higher percentages of used equipment, and equipment is less expensive because it is simpler.
Still the solar cell making equipment market is growing at 40-50% annually. So, while it is less than a couple of percent of the chip making equipment in size, it is growing at almost ten times the latter’s annual growth rates.
In the category of I wish . . .
If Moore\'s Law applied to cars, the Toyota Prius, which first went on sale in 1997, would now sell for $2000 and get 600 miles to the gallon -- EPA rating of course.
About weQuest: weQuest's are written by G Dan Hutcheson, his career spans more than thirty years, in which he became a well-known as a visionary for helping companies make businesses out of technology. This includes hundreds of successful programs involving product development, positioning, and launch in Semiconductor, Technology, Medicine, Energy, Business, High Tech, Enviorntment, Electronics, healthcare and Business devisions.