Science Technology

Who will be the next generation of photovoltaic cell technology?

2022 is the first year of the outbreak of N-type battery. The development of next-generation photovoltaic cell technologies such as TOPcon, HJT and IBC is in full swing.
Author | Fang Wen
Picture source | Network
Rapid growth of photovoltaic cell market
The National Energy Administration issued the “Construction and Operation of Photovoltaic Power Generation in the First Half of 2022”. In the first half of 2022, the total installed capacity of photovoltaic power in China was 30.88 GW (1 GW=1000 MW), an increase of 137.4% year on year. This figure has exceeded the sum of the installed capacity in the first ten months of last year.
Among the many links in the photovoltaic industry chain, the battery link is the core of technological progress. In the whole photovoltaic industry chain, the cell is a middle and downstream link. The cell is processed on the basis of silicon, and its function is to convert light energy into electric energy.
With the rapid development of China’s photovoltaic industry, China’s photovoltaic cell market has grown rapidly. In the context of the continuous expansion of leading enterprises, China’s photovoltaic cell capacity has grown rapidly. In 2021, China’s photovoltaic cell capacity will be 350 GW/year, with a year-on-year increase of 59.09%.
In terms of output, China’s photovoltaic cell production has maintained a rapid growth trend in recent years. In 2011, the total output of solar cells nationwide was only 21GW. By 2021, the output of solar cells in China has increased to 198GW, with a year-on-year increase of 46.9%.
The output scale of the photovoltaic cell market has increased year by year, and the industry is mainly concentrated in East China. The region with the largest output of photovoltaic cells is East China, accounting for 73.2% of the national output, and the southwest region is the second with 9.42%. Among the provinces and cities, Jiangsu Province has the largest output of 53.834 million kilowatts, nearly twice the output of Zhejiang Province; Zhejiang ranks second with 28.606 million kilowatts of output; Anhui ranks the third with 20.67 million kilowatts of output.
The technology has been continuously upgraded, and the photovoltaic industry has developed rapidly
Technological innovation will also gradually transform photovoltaic cells from P-type to N-type. Photovoltaic cells are mainly divided into P-type and N-type. P-type silicon wafers are doped with boron, while N-type silicon wafers are doped with phosphorus.
There are two types of P-type battery, BSF battery and PERC battery, which occupy the main market share. N-type batteries are mainly divided into TOPcon, HJT (heterojunction) and IBC.
At present, the space for reducing costs and improving efficiency of P-type photovoltaic cells on the market is shrinking, and a number of enterprises have begun to layout N-type photovoltaic cells.
Recently, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and other five departments jointly issued the Action Plan for Accelerating the Green and Low-Carbon Innovation and Development of Electric Power Equipment, which pointed out that in five to eight years, we should focus on the development of high-efficiency and low-cost photovoltaic cell technology in solar energy equipment, including the industrialization of crystalline silicon solar cell technology such as TOPcon, HJT, IBC, and perovskite and laminated cell module technology.
According to the statistics of China Photovoltaic Industry Association, the market share of PERC cells in 2021 will be about 91%, and the total share of heterojunction and TOPcon will be less than 3%.
It is expected that by 2025, the total proportion of ultra-high efficiency battery technology represented by heterojunction and TOPcon will be close to 40%, and it is expected to exceed 75% by 2030.
At present, most of the HJT battery production lines are still small-scale. In the longer term, the disruptive innovative technology represented by HJT has simpler process, clear and clear industrialization cost reduction path, and large space for efficiency improvement in the future. However, the high cost of not connecting with the PERC production line makes it less competitive in the short term. According to the prediction of Energy Trend, the total capacity of HJT battery project is planned to exceed 150GW.
However, IBC battery is a long-term platform battery technology route, and it is still difficult to achieve large-scale mass production in China. At the same time, the classic IBC efficiency premium is difficult to cover the cost premium, and the TBC and HBC paths combined with TOPcon and HJT are expected to attract industrial transformation.
At present, there are not a few domestic enterprises distributing IBC batteries, such as Longji Green Energy, Aixu Shares, Trina Solar, China Lai Shares, Jingao Technology, etc. It is expected to see a small amount of capacity landing this year.
The trend of AI chip world is that the trillions of new energy markets are competing. Who will be the next generation of photovoltaic cell technology?
TOPcon battery has entered the stage of industrialization expansion
According to SMM statistics, China’s Topcon battery capacity expanded rapidly this year. Currently, 49.4GW has been put into production, 60.5GW under construction and 206GW under planning. It is estimated that the production capacity of TOPcon battery will reach 77.4GW by the end of 2022, mainly concentrated in Jiangsu, Anhui and Zhejiang, accounting for 42.76%, 31.01% and 19.38% respectively.
It is estimated that the capacity of TOPcon battery will reach 305.9GW by the end of 2023, of which the annual new capacity will reach 228.5GW. The new capacity is mainly concentrated in Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang and Shanxi.
In October of this year, GCL Integration issued an announcement on the signing of the investment agreement for the 20GW photovoltaic cell and supporting industry production base project with the People’s Government of Wuhu City, and reached a cooperation intention on the investment and construction of the 20GW TOPcon photovoltaic cell and supporting industry production base project.
The trend of AI chip world is that the trillions of new energy markets are competing. Who will be the next generation of photovoltaic cell technology?
End: development space of photovoltaic cell enterprises
Under the universal concept of energy conservation in the world, green technology of photovoltaic cells has become a new star in the industry. This wave of green technology trend, which is the first to promote solar energy as the most bullish market, is likely to become the global star of the future.
It is well known that in the current photovoltaic industry chain, although the overall entry threshold of photovoltaic cells is relatively low, it is also one of the most revolutionary links in technology. Since the completion of the technical transformation of the first generation of photovoltaic cells (BSF cells) by PERC cells, which pushed the photovoltaic industry into the era of parity, the “efficiency anxiety” of the subsequent cycle has become prominent.
Photovoltaic cell technology is developing by leaps and bounds, and the development trend from P-type to N-type has become a foregone conclusion, which also attracts more industrial capital layout.
Part of the content comes from: Jingwei Venture Capital: Who will stand out in the trillion-dollar market in the photovoltaic cell technology competition?; China’s Topcon battery capacity expanded rapidly, and the TOPcon battery sector continued to rise; China Research Network: analysis report on the current situation and development trend of photovoltaic cell technology in 2022; Development status and prospect analysis of photovoltaic cell industry