Third generation photovoltaics and their projections for growth

By Dr Harry Zervos, IDTechEX


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Published in:

Energy Efficiency Made Simple Vol III: Energy and enviroFiciency
November 2012 - Chapter 8: pages 100 – 102

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Third generation photovoltaic technologies are currently facing challenges relating to performance and utilisation of materials that are currently expensive, leading to overall cost structures that are currently not as cost-effective as competing technology platforms.



The identification of niche markets that will allow for initial small volume commercialisation is the best way to keep companies afloat during the first few difficult years when incumbent technology performance over cost ratios make adoption of new, less competitive technologies harder.

These niche markets, usually characterised by lower volumes and more specific requirements that do not necessarily match the interests of existing technologies that are focused on providing for larger existing markets give the opportunity to new companies to generate income that will support them during their humble beginnings, allow for further research and development activities that will optimise performance and will eventually lead to larger volumes that can potentially increase cost-effectiveness through economies of scale.

IDTechEX has been following the markets for Organic Photovoltaics (OPV) and Dye Sensitised Solar Cell (DSSCs) very closely for more than 10 years and has developed both performance and cost road maps for these solar cells, allowing for a better understanding of how commercialisation is going to progress over the next decade.


Take note

  • OPV and DSSCs are considered a third generation of solar technologies, having been developed through research in recent years.
  • Developers of OPV and dye DSSCs will need to identify niche markets that will allow for seeding further growth in later years.
  • This third generation - with their cost reduction potential - will eventually offer solutions that can allow for further adoption of solar power generation.