Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have conducted a techno-economic analysis they claim demonstrates the importance of niche markets for bringing cutting-edge PV technologies such as perovskites to commercial maturity.

Higher-value niche markets such as the building-integrated PV (BIPV) segment and self-powered microelectronics devices may offer more room for testing new solar technologies at lower cost, say the authors of the study. The MIT team said customers in such markets are more comfortable paying a higher price for more sophisticated products. “They’ll pay a little more if your product is flexible, or if the module fits into a building envelope,” stated the study.

The researchers said targeting specialist markets would offer developers the opportunity to scale gradually. By contrast, the billion-dollar bill of bringing new technology directly to mainstream markets remains a significant hurdle.