Photovoltaic glass (PV glass) refers to a technology that enables the conversion of light into electricity. It is a typical glass with integrated solar cells that transform solar energy into electricity, generating power within the facade and roof of a building. These solar cells are embedded between two glass panes filled with special resin, securely wrapping them on all sides. Both individual cells have two electric connections which are linked to other cells in the module to form a system that generates direct electric current. Polycrystalline solar cells are mostly blue or opaque. They are made from poured silicon blocks and thereby inexpensive; however, they exhibit lower efficiency.
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They are typically classified into three types: mono-crystalline, multi-crystalline, and amorphous. Mono-crystalline solar cells are blue or black, opaque, and highly efficient. They are made from silicon crystals through a complicated manufacturing process. Amorphous solar cells are non-crystalline in nature, transparent, and can be used as window glazing in regular windows and sunspaces. They can also be integrated into roofs. Transparent modules can also be a part of energy-efficient glazing, wherein they are used instead of regular glass.
Increasing awareness about renewable energy and the rising demand for electricity have boosted the need for photovoltaic transparent glass. The electricity thus generated is expected to play a significant role in addressing the electricity-related issues in remote areas. The technology is anticipated to help electrify remote places where the supply of electricity is scarce. The integration of photovoltaic transparent glass systems with the automotive technology is likely to boost the efficiency of automobiles.
In terms of region, the global photovoltaic transparent glass market has been distributed over North America, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Europe dominated the global photovoltaic transparent glass market in 2016. Germany has been leading the region on account of its multiple photovoltaic glass installations. The global photovoltaic transparent glass market has been expanding at a significant rate for the last few years due to high government subsidies available in several countries. Asia Pacific is likely to expand due to the development of the renewable energy sector in the region. It is projected to be a rapidly expanding market for photovoltaic transparent glass during the forecast period. Latin America is also likely to expand substantially during the forecast period. The U.S. held a significant share in the photovoltaic transparent glass market in North America in 2016. The country is estimated to dominate the market in the region in the near future. Global demand for photovoltaic transparent glass is predicted to increase in the next few years due to rapid industrialization and urbanization in developing economies. The rising awareness about renewable energy and surge in government subsidies on solar products have encouraged the usage of solar energy in several developing countries. The government of China is planning to develop 16 solar thermal plants by 2020, boosting the demand for photovoltaic transparent glass systems in the country during the forecast period.
Global demand for the solar energy is anticipated to rise significantly in the near future, offering high growth opportunities for the global photovoltaic transparent glass market. The significant rise in demand for end-use applications, competitive production costs, and high economic growth rate are factors propelling the photovoltaic transparent glass market in Asia Pacific and also prompting companies to adopt expansion and R&D strategies in the region. These companies are concentrating on Asia Pacific to gain a larger market share and meet the global demand. Numerous producers are shifting their plants to countries such as China and India owing to factors such as high demand and low cost of raw materials and labor.
Major players operating in the global photovoltaic transparent glass market include Nippon Sheet Glass Co. Ltd, Sun Well Solar Corporation, and Borosil.
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