InP usage to increase in next-generation PV technologies
At the moment though, indium phosphide PV is much too costly and is not used much outside of a lab and for selected applications in the aerospace industry.
The main driver for indium use in the PV industry is the growth of CIGS PV, which will rapidly penetrate conventional PV panels, BIPV and portable PV.
This is according to the report “Markets for Indium-Based Materials in the Photovoltaics Industry” by Nanomarkets. Despite the many substitutes for ITO, significant usage of ITO will continue by PV firms; ITO finds widespread use in a-Si, DSC and OPV PV.
Although alternative deposition methods for ITO and CIGS are often touted, important users in the PV industry prefer sputtering. NanoMarkets believes that for CIGS space there will be a growing opportunity to sell composite targets containing indium, copper, and gallium. Also alloy sputtering targets are attractive because of their higher throughput and reduced system cost.
ITO inks are still sold, but seem to be losing out to transparent conducting nanomaterial inks. CIGS inks have potential, but NanoMarkets believes that it is by no means assured that printed CIGS will become a major part of part of the PV industry going forward.
None of the CIGS inks are currently available in high volume and the history of printed CIGS has been disappointing. If printed CIGS does take off, however, NanoMarkets sees an opportunity for nanopowder firms to sell related materials to the relevant ink makers.
The firm expects that the PV industry will start to use more InP as the industry seeks out next-generation PV technologies. But for now, InP PV is much too costly and is not used much outside of a lab and for selected applications in the aerospace industry. However, NanoMarkets notes that InP consumes very large quantities of indium per unit of cell area.