Comparative Advantage Market Analysis
The market for solar energy technologies continues to grow (48% compound annual growth rate [CAGR] from 1999-2008). Globalization of these markets has advanced the industry by accelerating performance improvements and reducing product costs through increased competition. NREL's comparative advantage market analysis is focused on understanding the key US export opportunities in the solar energy technologies global market, the US competitive advantages in this market and what US policies can best support/facilitate increased exports.
NREL's comparative advantages market analysis studies show that:
- The US was a net exporter of solar technologies in 2010 and, as an innovation leader in this area, is well positioned for future export opportunities in the global solar market.
Highlights of Recent Studies
Assessment of US Comparative Advantage in the Global Solar Energy Technologies Market
This study conducted a market assessment of raw and intermediate materials, equipment and products for commercial solar energy technologies—C-Si, TF PV, CPV, CSP, BoS—and summarized the US solar energy technology market advantages as follows:
- Well-established producer of polysilicon feedstock and manufacturing equipment for c-Si PV
- Abundant raw materials for production of moisture barrier films, glass, aluminum extrusions, Mo, Se, and CD for TF PV modules
- Strong technology innovation capability
- Innovative metallization methods for c-Si PV
- Components for CPV and CSP
- Strong institutional capacity supporting technology advancements
The study also identified the following trends favorable to future US solar energy technology exports
- Increased global scale of production and level of automation
- Non-domestic demand growth projected for CPV and CSP
For questions, contact Ted James.