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Venture Capital Investment into Thin Film Solar Photovoltaics – Where is it Going and Why?
Volume 6, Issue 3

Nicholas Querques, University of Albany
Pradeep Haldar, University of Albany
Unnikrishnan Pillai, University of Albany

The large-scale adoption of solar photovoltaics (PV) depends largely on its ability to deliver electric power at a cost per watt comparable to that of conventional energy sources, and being able to do so with high conversion efficiencies. Among the different solar PV technologies, thin film PV technologies stand out as candidates likely to achieve these two objectives in the near term. We compare the three promising thin film PV technologies—amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenium—in terms of cost per watt and conversion efficiency, and against the total venture capital investment flowing into each. The authors conclude venture capital investment seems to be guided by the prospect of high conversion efficiency more than low cost per watt, and offer possible explanations.

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