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  • Published In : Feb 2024
  • Code : CMI6454
  • Pages :150
  • Formats :
      Excel and PDF
  • Industry : Semiconductors

The global solar simulator Market size is valued at US$ 433.5 Mn in 2024 and is expected to reach US$ 707.2 Mn by 2031, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% from 2024 to 2031. Solar simulators are light sources that are designed to simulate natural sunlight. They are used to test solar cells, solar panels, sunscreen, materials, automotive components, and other products for their performance under simulated sunlight conditions. The major advantages of solar simulators include flexibility, repeatability, and ability to control variables like intensity, spectrum, uniformity, and temperature during testing.

The key drivers for the solar simulator market include the growing solar PV industry, increasing demand for ultraviolet (UV) testing of materials and products, growth of the automotive sector, and rising research and development (R&D) investments. Global solar simulator market is segmented into  light source, dimension, application, end use industry, and region. By light source, the xenon arc lamps segment accounted for the largest share of the market in 2023. Xenon arc lamps offer high intensity light and spectrum closest to natural sunlight, thereby making them suitable for solar cell and module testing applications.

Global Solar Simulator Market Regional Insights

  • Asia Pacific market is largest market for global solar simulator market, accounting for over 41% of the market share in 2023. The growth of the market in Asia Pacific is due to the rapidly growing production of solar cells and panels and investments in renewable energy in countries like China, Japan and India.
  • North America is expected to be the second largest market for global solar simulator market during the forecast period, accounting for over 26% of the market share in 2023. The growth of the market in North America is due to the well-established solar industry and increasing investments in research and development (R&D) activities related to solar technologies in the region.
  • Europe market is expected to be the fastest-growing market for global solar simulator market, with a CAGR of over 19% during the forecast period. The growth of the market in Europe is due to the rising demand for electric vehicles and investments in (R&D) for advanced solar technologies in the region.

Figure 1. Global Solar Simulator Market Share (%), By Region, 2023


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Analyst view point:

Global solar simulator market is expected to grow significantly, driven by rising investments in solar energy resources worldwide. Increasing demand for solar panels from both the utility-scale solar sector and rapid growth of rooftop solar installations will boost the demand for solar simulators for testing solar cells and modules. Asia Pacific region, led by China, dominates the global market and is expected to continue its lead driven by massive investments in solar energy generation capacity additions across the region. Europe and U.S. are other major markets and strong growth is expected in countries like India, Middle East and Latin America driven by supportive policies.

Global Solar Simulator Market Drivers:

  • Growing solar PV installations: Rising installations of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems around the world is a major factor driving the growth of the global solar simulator market. Solar PV capacity additions have been increasing significantly over the last decade. According to International Energy Agency, solar PV generation increased by a record 270 TWh (up 26%) in 2022, reaching almost 1300 TWh. It demonstrated the largest absolute generation growth of all renewable technologies in 2022, surpassing wind for the first time in history. Countries like China, U.S., India, Japan, and Germany are among the top markets. The rise in solar PV panels requires extensive testing to ensure efficiency and performance. Solar simulators play a vital role in the research and development of solar panels. They are used by solar panel manufacturers to test the electrical parameters of cells and panels under simulated sunlight. The growth in PV production and installations is thus fueling the demand for advanced solar simulators. For instance, According to Department of Energy during the initial six months of 2023 (H1), there was a substantial rise in photovoltaic (PV) installations, with notable increases observed in China (153%) and Germany (102%). The United States also experienced growth, albeit to a lesser extent, with a 34% increase.
  • Use in material testing and weathering studies: Solar simulators find widespread use in material testing applications across industries. Materials used in outdoor applications such as coatings, plastics, and glass need to be tested for weathering stability under sunlight. Solar simulators provide the ability to accurately replicate and control the spectral distribution of sunlight. For instance, in 2022, Atlas, a material testing company, offered an extensive range of light exposure and weathering services and instruments for the solar-thermal, photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated PV (CPV) industries for testing both module and material durability. They can simulate UV radiation, moisture, heat and other conditions experienced by materials. Industries like automotive, aerospace, construction, plastics use solar simulators for material durability testing. With investments in product R&D rising, the use of solar simulators for material testing is expected to increase.
  • Automotive industry applications: Solar simulators are widely used in the automotive industry for component testing and measurement. They are used to test automotive lights, displays, coatings, plastics and electronics for performance under simulated solar conditions. Car window glazing and films need to be tested for infrared (IR), ultraviolet (UV) and visible light transmission. According to USD Analytics, the global automotive solar carport charging stations market is projected to experience significant growth, with an estimated increase of 10.4% during the forecast period from 2023 to 2030. Automotive lighting like headlamps, brake lights need testing to meet regulations. Moreover, adoption of automotive displays, camera systems, (Advanced driver-assistance system) ADAS technologies will drive testing requirements. The growing electric vehicles market also relies on solar simulators for development. Major automotive hubs in Europe, Asia use solar ssimulators for R&D. The automotive industry's demand is thus fueling the market growth.
  • Investments in R&D: Investments in R&D by public and private institutions to develop advanced solar technologies are driving the demand for solar simulators. Academic institutes and universities use solar simulators to test new materials, cell designs for improving solar efficiencies. Moreover, companies are launching R&D centers dedicated to solar technologies. For example, in 2021, REC, a solar energy company opened a solar experience center in Singapore for PV research. Such investments in R&D for solar and other technologies require advanced solar simulators

Global Solar Simulator Market Opportunities

  • Emerging applications in agriculture: The agriculture sector offers significant opportunities for solar simulator providers to cater to emerging applications. Solar simulators can be used in indoor farming and greenhouse facilities to provide artificial sunlight for plant growth. This allows climate and light control for year-round crop production. Companies are developing specialized horticulture lamps using Light-emitting diode (LED) with tailored spectra. Moreover, research facilities use solar simulators to study how different light spectra, intensity impact plant growth, physiology and yields. The expected growth in controlled-environment agriculture worldwide will drive demand.
  • Testing of new materials: The development of new materials for various applications will drive demand for testing under simulated sunlight conditions. For instance, solar simulators are used to test properties like degradation, discoloration of new polymers, coatings under UV exposure. They help assess the behavior of nanomaterials, biomaterials under light and radiation. In the construction industry, solar simulators are important for testing glazing, glass, exterior coatings. For instance, Fluke, a manufacturer of industrial test, measurement, and diagnostic equipment, offers solar meters and tools for photovoltaic testing equipment, including clamp meters, irradiance meters, and photovoltaic tester’s .Healthcare uses them to test UV protection of products. As investments in materials R&D increases, the need for solar simulators will rise.
  • Off-grid and concentrated solar power: Solar simulators will find increased adoption in testing of technologies for off-grid installations and concentrated solar power systems. Off-grid solar use is rising for remote locations, utilities, telecom infrastructure, and others. Testing components like batteries, inverters for reliability is essential. Moreover, concentrated PV systems have complex optics, thus heat dissipation needs requiring testing. According to World Bank estimates from 2020, globally around 620 million people still rely on solid biomass for cooking which has severe health and environmental impacts. The expected growth of off-grid and concentrating solar-thermal power solar will create opportunities for testing applications.
  • Market expansion in emerging economies: High growth solar markets in Asia, Latin America, Middle East &Africa offer significant expansion opportunities for solar simulator companies. Countries like India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt have ambitious solar targets and projects in the pipeline. This is driven by rising energy needs and climate goals.

Global Solar Simulator Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2023 Market Size in 2024: US$ 433.5 Mn
Historical Data for: 2019 to 2023 Forecast Period: 2024 – 2031
Forecast Period 2024 to 2031 CAGR: 7.2% 2031 Value Projection: US$ 707.2 Mn
Geographies covered:
  • North America: U.S. and Canada
  • Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America
  • Europe: Germany, U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, ASEAN, and Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa:  GCC Countries, Israel,  South Africa, and Rest of Middle East & Africa
Segments covered:
  • By Light Source: Xenon Arc Lamps, Metal Halide Arc Lamps, LED Lamp, UV Lamp, and Others
  • By Dimension: Class AAA, Class ABA, Class ABB, and Others
  • By Application: PV Cell/Module Testing, UV Testing of Materials and Products, Automotive Testing, and Others
  • By End-use Industry: Solar, Automotive, Materials Testing, Photonics, Optical, and Others
Companies covered:

ABET TECHNOLOGIES, INC, Meyer Burger, TS-Space Systems LTD, G2V Optics Inc.,, IWASAKI ELECTRIC CO., LTD.,  Newport Corporation, Eternalsun Spire., Solar Light Company, LLC, Sciencetech, spectrolab, OAI, AMETEK.Inc. , and Enlitech 

Growth Drivers:
  • Growing solar PV installations
  • Use in material testing and weathering studies
  • Automotive industry applications
  • Investments in R&D
Restraints & Challenges:
  • High equipment and operating costs
  • Lack of standardization
  • Competition from used/rental equipment

Global Solar Simulator Market Trends

  • Multi-lamp solar simulators: Solar simulators using multiple lamps are gaining popularity as they offer higher intensities and uniformity required for testing new generation solar cells and panels. Multi-lamp simulators combine the outputs of several individual xenon or metal halide lamps. They provide class AAA performance and spectrum needed for ultra-efficient triple junction cells. For instance, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Research ISE (Fraunhofer ISE) and NWO-Institute AMOLF have developed a multijunction solar cell with an efficiency of 36.1%, beating previous records for silicon-based solar cells. Major manufacturers like Wacom, Abet Technologies, Endeas offer multi-lamp models, thus catering to PV cell makers and labs.
  • LED-based solar simulators: Increasing adoption of Light-emitting diode (LED) technology in solar simulators is a key trend. LED-based designs offer benefits like low operating costs, long lifespan as compared to traditional arc lamp systems. Moreover, LEDs allow control over individual spectrum wavelengths, thereby enabling adjustable spectral output. An innovative benchtop LED solar simulator, LumiSun 50 is perfect for measuring photovoltaic cells’ efficiency and spectral response in research labs. Companies like Bentham Instruments, a manufacturer of monochromators, offer LED solar simulators. OEMs are also developing LED-based custom simulators. However, LEDs lack high intensity and spectral range as compared to xenon arc lamps.
  • Air mass control: Air mass control is a feature gaining importance in advanced solar simulators. It allows adjusting the spectral content of the light source to simulate sunlight through different air m ass conditions. Lower air mass indicates direct overhead sunlight, while higher values simulate sunlight passing through more atmosphere. Air mass adjustment is useful for testing solar panels for different latitudes and climate conditions. Abet, a manufacturer arc based light sources for spectroscopy, solar simulators for the Photovoltaic, Cosmetic and Pharmaceutical industries, produces SunLite solar which offers air mass filters, such as the AM1.5G, which are crucial components that simulate the spectral distribution of sunlight as it passes through earth's atmosphere, thereby enabling researchers and developers to test solar panels and materials under consistent and standard conditions. Companies like Spectrolab, a manufacturer of space solar cells and panels, offer solar simulators with air mass controllers.
  • IoT-enabled smart solar simulators: Integration of internet-of-things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud connectivity in solar simulators is an emerging trend. Connected solar simulators allow remote control, monitoring, data acquisition and reporting. Companies like KLA Corp, an American capital equipment company, offer IoT-enabled models that connect to cloud platforms. Smart IoT features reduce the need for on-site operators. According to matellio navigation ideas, with the rise of renewable energy sources, IoT-based solar power monitoring systems will become increasingly important for managing and optimizing solar power installations. They enable seamless software updates and integration with automated testing setups. IoT integration provides users with more flexibility.

Global Solar Simulator Market Restraints

  • High equipment and operating costs: The high equipment and operating costs associated with solar simulators is a major limiting factor inhibiting the growth of the global solar simulator market. Solar simulators require the use of sophisticated equipment including xenon arc lamps, Light-emitting diode (LED) lights, filters and parabolic reflectors that can precisely mimic natural sunlight. The acquisition and setup costs of such advanced light sources and components are substantial. Metal halide and LED systems also require significant investments. Moreover, operating costs are also high due to electricity consumption of high-power lamps. Xenon lamps require replacement over their lifetime. This leads to reluctance among small and budget-constrained end users.
  • Counterbalance: Companies need to focus on developing cost-effective and energy-efficient solutions. Though the initial investment is high, solar simulators can lead to long-term cost savings by providing accurate and accelerated testing of solar panels and materials, which reduces the time and cost associated with outdoor testing
  • Lack of standardization: Global solar simulator market lacks a universal set of standards for equipment performance and classification. Different parameters like lamp types, light intensity, uniformity, and spectral match have vendor-specific classifications. For instance, standards like A, B, C for intensity uniformity vary across providers. This leads to confusion among end users regarding comparing product specifications. Establishing industry-wide standards will increase adoption by ensuring minimal performance criteria is met. Global standards organizations need to address this gap. Encourage manufacturers, researchers, and standard-setting organizations to work together for the development of universally accepted standards.
  • Competition from used/rental equipment: Competition from used and rental solar simulators poses a restraint for vendors in terms of new equipment sales. Startups and academic institutes may opt for refurbished or used systems due to budget constraints. Online platforms have made used equipment more accessible. Moreover, companies like OAI rent out solar simulators by providing a cost-effective option. This limits the new sales expansion potential and affects profit margins for established market players.
  • Counterbalance: Developing value-added services beyond equipment sales can help counter this. Highlighting the long-term cost-effectiveness of investing in new equipment due to lower maintenance costs, higher operational efficiency, and better performance can sway decision-makers.

Recent Developments

New product launches

  • In June 2023, the N-zone solar simulator is an advanced tool that is designed to test solar cells with up to twelve layers without the settings of any single layer affecting the others, replacing the older TS-Space Systems Unisim models which were limited to cells with four junctions.
  • In March 2022, Newport Corporation, a brand within the MKS Instruments Photonics Solutions, launched Model 66921, a 1800W triple output solar simulator that provides Class ABB light intensity distribution for testing triple junction solar cells
  • In September 2020, Sciencetech Inc., a manufacturer of solar simulators, launched SCI-150 150W solar simulator for testing and measurement of solar cells. It complies with IEC60904-9 Class ABA solar simulator standards.

Acquisition and partnerships

  • In May 2023, First Solar, Inc., an American manufacturer of solar panels strengthened its lead in the global thin film photovoltaics market by acquiring Evolar AB, a key player in European perovskite technology.
  • In April 2022, Alternus Energy, a leading provider of 24/7 clean energy agreed to a definitive agreement to acquire up to 228 MW solar projects in Spain. The projects are in mid-stage development and are anticipated to reach RTB status by Q2 and Q3 of 2023, subject to permitting and suitable grid connection conditions.

Figure 2. Global Solar Simulator Market Share (%), By Application, 2024


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Top Companies in Solar Simulator Market

  • Meyer Burger
  • TS-Space Systems LTD
  • G2V Optics Inc.
  • IWASAKI ELECTRIC CO., LTD. Newport Corporation
  • Eternalsun Spire.
  • Solar Light Company, LLC
  • Sciencetech
  • spectrolab
  • OAI
  • AMETEK.Inc.
  • Enlitech

Definition: Solar simulators are artificial light sources that are designed to replicate natural sunlight. They produce light with intensities and spectral distributions that closely match the solar spectrum. Solar simulators are used to test the performance and durability of solar cells, solar panels, materials, automotive components, and other products under simulated sunlight. The key applications include testing photovoltaic devices, material weathering. and aging studies, biological studies, and automotive testing. Solar simulators provide control over variables like intensity, temperature, and exposure times, thereby allowing repeatable and flexible testing. The major types of solar simulators include xenon arc lamp, metal halide arc lamp, and Light-emitting diode (LED)-based systems. With the growth in solar installations and industries like automotive and aerospace, the demand for advanced solar simulators is increasing globally.

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Frequently Asked Questions

High equipment and operating costs, lack of standardization, and competition from used/rental equipment are the key factors hampering growth of the solar simulator market 

Growing solar PV installations, use in material testing and weathering studies, automotive industry applications, and investments in R&D are the major factors driving the solar simulator market growth.

The leading Application segment in the solar simulator market is PV Cell/Module testing.

The major players operating in the solar simulator market are ABET TECHNOLOGIES, INC, Meyer Burger, TS-Space Systems LTD, G2V Optics Inc.,, IWASAKI ELECTRIC CO., LTD.,  Newport Corporation, Eternalsun Spire., Solar Light Company, LLC, Sciencetech, spectrolab, OAI, AMETEK.Inc. , and Enlitech

Asia Pacific leads the global solar simulator market. .

The CAGR of solar simulator market is 7.2%.

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