The Global Solar Simulator Market size is expected to reach US$ 664.5 million by 2030, from US$ 408.4 million in 2023, at a CAGR of 7.2% during the forecast period. 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 UV testing of materials and products, growth of the automotive sector, and rising R&D investments. The Global Solar Simulator Market is segmented by 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, making them suitable for solar cell and module testing applications.
Global Solar Simulator Market Regional Insights
- North America is expected to be the 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 attributed to the well-established solar industry and increasing investments in R&D activities related to solar technologies in the region.
- The Asia Pacific market is expected to be the second-largest market for Global Solar Simulator Market, accounting for over 41% of the market share in 2023. The growth of the market in is attributed to the rapidly growing production of solar cells and panels and investments in renewable energy in countries like China, Japan and India.
- The 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 attributed 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
Global Solar Simulator Market Drivers
- Growing solar PV installations: The rising installations of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems around the world is a major factor driving the growth of the solar simulator market. Solar PV capacity additions have been increasing significantly over the last decade. According to solar industry reports, global solar PV installations reached over 817 GW in 2021, an increase of 23% over the previous year. 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.
- 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, 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. 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 IR, UV and visible light transmission. Automotive lighting like headlamps, brake lights need testing to meet regulations. Moreover, adoption of automotive displays, camera systems, 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 simulators for R&D. The automotive industry's demand is thus fueling 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. For instance, Perovskite research for solar cells relies on solar simulators. CIGS, CdTe and other thin-film solar technologies require testing during development. Moreover, companies are launching R&D centers dedicated to solar technologies. For example, in 2021, REC 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 Report Coverage
||Market Size in 2023:
||US$ 408.4 Mn
|Historical Data for:
||2018 to 2021
||2023 - 2030
|Forecast Period 2023 to 2030 CAGR:
||2030 Value Projection:
||US$ 664.5 Mn
- 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, North Africa, and Central Africa and Rest of Middle East
- By Light Source: Xenon Arc Lamps, Metal Halide Arc Lamps, LED Lamp, UV Lamp, Others
- By Dimension: Class AAA, Class ABA, Class ABB, Class Others
- By Application: PV Cell/Module Testing, UV Testing of Materials and Products, Automotive Testing, Others
- By End-use Industry: Solar, Automotive, Materials Testing, Photonics, Optical, Others
ABET Technologies, Asahi Spectra, Iwasaki Electric, Meyer Burger Technology, Newport Corporation, Gsolar Power, OAI, Nisshinbo, Sciencetech, Endeas Oy, Solar Light Company, Spectrolab, Eternalsun Spire, WASAKI Electric, ETS Solutions Asia, Spire Solar, Caeleste, AESCO Telecom, Eternal Sun, Class One Equipment
- 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 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 LEDs 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. 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 etc. Testing components like batteries, inverters for reliability is essential. Moreover, concentrated PV systems have complex optics, heat dissipation needs requiring testing. The expected growth of off-grid and CSP solar will create opportunities for testing applications.
- Market expansion in emerging economies: High growth solar markets in Asia, Latin America, Middle East and Africa offer significant expansion opportunities for solar simulator companies. Countries like India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Egypt have ambitious solar targets and projects in the pipeline. This is driven by rising energy needs and climate goals. Moreover, investments into R&D facilities have increased in these regions. Localization and partnerships will enable providers to capture share in emerging markets which will drive growth.
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. Major manufacturers like Wacom, Abet Technologies, Endeas offer multi-lamp models catering to PV cell makers and labs.
- LED-based solar simulators: The increasing adoption of LED technology in solar simulators is a key trend. LED-based designs offer benefits like low operating costs, long lifespan compared to traditional arc lamp systems. Moreover, LEDs allow control over individual spectrum wavelengths, enabling adjustable spectral output. Companies like Sciencetech, Bentham Instruments, Gsolar offer LED solar simulators. OEMs are also developing LED-based custom simulators. However, LEDs lack high intensity and spectral range 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 Mass 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, climate conditions. Companies like Newport, Spectrolab offer solar simulators with Air Mass controllers.
- IoT-enabled smart solar simulators: The integration of IoT, 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, Abet Technologies offer IoT-enabled models that connect to cloud platforms. Smart IoT features reduce the need for on-site operators. 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 costs of solar simulators and related maintenance is a key factor restricting wider adoption. Advanced solar simulators based on xenon lamps cost over USD 100,000. 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, budget-constrained end users. Companies need to focus on developing cost-effective and energy-efficient solutions.
- Lack of standardization: The solar simulator market lacks a universal set of standards for equipment performance and classification. Different parameters like lamp types, light intensity, uniformity, 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 are met. Global standards organizations need to address this gap.
- 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, H3ARC rent out solar simulators providing a cost-effective option. This limits the new sales expansion potential and affects profit margins for established players. Developing value-added services beyond equipment sales can help counter this.
New product launches
- In March 2022, Newport Corporation launched Model 66921, a 1800W Triple Output Solar Simulator that provides Class ABB light intensity distribution for testing triple junction solar cells.
- In January 2021, Abet Technologies introduced RayMatch solar simulators with tunable spectral output for precision solar cell testing.
- In September 2020, Sciencetech 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 October 2021, ETS Solutions Asia announced partnership with Scanwel to distribute solar simulators in Thailand. This expanded ETS's sales and distribution network in the Asia Pacific region.
- In August 2020, Newport Corporation was acquired by MKS Instruments Inc. to enhance their photonics products portfolio including solar simulators.
- In January 2019, Sciencetech Inc. announced partnership agreement with Daystar to distribute their solar simulators for solar cell research in Canada.
Figure 2. Global Solar Simulator Market Share (%), By Application, 2023
Top companies in Global Solar Simulator Market
- ABET Technologies
- Asahi Spectra
- Iwasaki Electric
- Meyer Burger Technology
- Newport Corporation
- Gsolar Power
- Endeas Oy
- Solar Light Company
- Eternalsun Spire
- WASAKI Electric
- ETS Solutions Asia
- Spire Solar
- AESCO Telecom
- Eternal Sun
- Class One Equipment
Definition: Solar simulators are artificial light sources 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. 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, allowing repeatable and flexible testing. The major types of solar simulators include xenon arc lamp, metal halide arc lamp, and 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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