Recently, the polysilicon, ingots, wafers, PV cells, and modules production and their capacity has been grown higher than the growth of the installed capacity in 2021. China established its position as the leading producer and consumer of PV cells and modules. This fact also significantly has influenced the global PV supply and demand. The whole of 2021 is characterized by a price increase for PV modules as for their raw materials due to a deficit of material, especially glass and polysilicon. Another factor is transportation also majorly the visible module price hike.
Thus, Eco Green Energy prepared an analysis of the current situation of the PV Industry Trends for 2022.
Actually, wafer-based c-Si technology is the main for producing PV cells. According to the IEA data, the global polysilicon production (including semiconductor grade polysilicon) in 2020 was about 520,500 tons. Polysilicon used for solar cells increased from 469,000 tons in 2019 to approx. 486,000 tons in 2020, while the semiconductor industry used 34,600 tons of polysilicon. The production volume of polysilicon for solar cells accounted for about 93.40 % of the total production in 2020.
At the end of 2021, the global polysilicon production capacity approximately reached 627,000 tons/year. After years of polysilicon production increases simultaneously with the PV market growth. In 2020, capacity decreased by 74,000 tons from 2019 due to withdrawals of several companies.
In fact, with the enhancement of conversion efficiency of PV cells and modules and efforts to reduce the use of materials, the amount of polysilicon used for 1 W of the wafer (consumption unit of polysilicon) has been decreasing year after year.
In 2019, it is estimated that an average of 3,2 g/W of polysilicon was used for a solar cell, and it decreased to an average of 3,1 g/W in 2020. Compared to 6,8 g/W in 2010, the consumption unit of polysilicon decreased by 7,6 % annually.
Manufactures use highly purified polysilicon as the primary raw material For Sc-Si ingots or mc-Si ingots. They cut them into bricks or blocks, then sawn them into thin wafers. There two types of silicon ingots: Sc-Si ingots and mc-Si ingots. Both produce for microelectronics applications, while mc-Si ingots are only for the PV industry.
In 2020, the production of c-Si wafers reached about 167,7 GW, what 18% higher than in 2019 – 142 GW. It means that the production of this raw material was 218 GW/year, while in 2019 with 185 GW/year. Many leading manufacturers announced to continue enhancing their production capacities to increase it by 435 GW/year.
As shown in Figure 2, China has more than 96% of the global production of wafers. In 2020, the country produced 161,4 GW of c-Si wafers, an increase of 19,8% year on year that came from investment to expand the production of monocrystalline silicon.
The spot price of c-Si wafers generally followed the price of polysilicon. In January 2020, the price of mc-Si and Sc-Si wafers was about 0,174 USD and 0,369 USD per piece respectively. The price reduction of mc-Si wafers was significant due to the slowing demand what caused the price gap between the two technologies widened throughout the year.
Solar Cell and Module Production
Truly, global solar cell (c-Si and thin-film solar cell) production attained 178 GW in 2020, a 20% increase from 2019 (144 GW). At the end of 2020, the global manufacturing capacity was around 257 GW/year, while at the end of 2021, it reached 300 GW.
China was the foremost country in solar cells production in 2020 with 135 GW, and, of course, it has been expanding its production capacity. Local leading PV module manufacturers have continued to invest in improving conversion efficiencies through the passivation process for PERC or PERT structures, and the adoption of four or more busbars. Moreover, they continue enhancing through the acceptance of multi-busbar wiring or wiring without busbars. Additionally, the reduction of silver consumption for electrodes is also one of the challenges in the cell production sector.
During 2020, the global PV module production majorly consisted of crystalline Si PV modules production (96.40%) with a slight increase from the previous year. Truly, the share of sc-Si PV modules significantly increased in 2020 from 62% to 82%, driven by the demand for higher conversion efficiency or higher output.
Projects Under Construction and Technology Type
Due to Figure 4, of projects announced or under construction, 87% will deploy crystalline silicon PV cells. 95% of projects announced or under construction that has disclosed their technology will deploy crystalline silicon PV cells. Actually, this is even higher than two years ago when these shares were 74% and 91% respectively.
Downstream PV Sector: Energy Storage Market Increase
Some countries or regions have established a target or incentives to introduce battery storage. The demand for distributed storage batteries is increasing due to distributed PV systems for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. In fact, the US, Australia, Germany Japan have already widely installed a tremendous number of PV systems. Moreover, the fast development of EVs might change the landscape of distributed PV systems as local storage batteries requirements.
According to Bloomberg NEF reporting released last month, by the end of 2030, the energy storage industry will have installed a total of 358 gigawatts (GW) /1,028 gigawatt-hours (GWh), breaking the one-terawatt (TW) threshold. Furthermore, recent reporting indicates that the global lithium-ion battery market is projected to grow from $41.1 billion in 2021 to $116.6 billion by 2030.
Actually, Targray Media indicates 10 trends in energy storage systems which are interesting to follow up:
▷ Battery Energy Storage Manufacturing Capacity is Growing Fast
▷ Technology of Choice for Solar-based Energy Storage Systems
▷ Asia trend to become Leader in Energy Storage
▷ Government Incentives for Energy Storage are Driving Growth
▷ Utilities are Primed to Partner With / Acquire ESS Companies
▷ Energy Storage-as-a-Service (ESaaS) is Becoming a Key Service Model
▷ Residential ESS Growth is Outstripping Utility-scale
▷ Levelized Cost of Storage (LCOS) is Emerging as a Popular Metric
▷ Opportunities for Financing Battery Storage on a Project Basis are Increasing
▷ Ethical Sourcing is Increasingly Critical for Battery Materials
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- IEA, 2021 – Trends in Photovoltaic Applications https://tecsol.blogs.com/files/iea-pvps-trends-report-2021-1.pdf
- A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute, 2017. – Solar photovoltaic https://www.energy-transition-institute.com/documents/17779499/17781903/Solar+PV_FactBook.pdf/dbb281cf-4546-229d-5be0-ccb816c9b1d9?t=1561052388027
- Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions – Supercharged: Challenges and opportunities in global battery storage markets, 2018. –
- Bloomberg NEF, 2021– Global Energy Storage Market Set to Hit One Terawatt-Hour by 2030 – https://about.bnef.com/blog/global-energy-storage-market-set-to-hit-one-terawatt-hour-by-2030/
- Utility Dive, 2021 – Trends to watch in energy storage in 2022 by Andrew Tang https://www.utilitydive.com/spons/trends-to-watch-in-energy-storage-in-2022/610870/
- Targay Media, 2021 –Energy Storage Systems: 10 Trends to Watch, by Olivier Benny – https://www.targray.com/media/articles/energy-storage-systems-technology-trends
- IRENA,2021 – Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets to 2030 file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/IRENA_Electricity_Storage_Costs_2017.pdf