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HIT (Heterojunction) Solar Cell Promoted by Hot Solar Industry

Author: QYResearch  |   Published Date: 2021-11-05   |   Views: 81



Renewable energy is undoubtedly one of hottest industries in recent two years. According to published information, wind and solar PV technologies is estimated to continue to grow during 2021–2030, with reduced costs encouraging more projects to be set up in the coming years. The adoption of renewables by countries that had not used these resources before will further drive uptake of wind and solar energy sources globally. Wind is expected to make up 13.4% of the global energy mix by 2030, while solar PV is expected to represent 16.6%.

 

Solar industry keeps fast technology innovation and more energy-saving products are supplied to the market. Heterojunctions are commonly formed through the interface of a crystalline silicon substrate and an amorphous Silicon passivation layer in solar cells. The Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin-Layer (HIT) solar cell structure was first developed in 1983 and commercialized by Sanyo/Panasonic. HIT solar cells now hold the record for the most efficient single-junction silicon solar cell, with a conversion efficiency of 26.7%.

 

The latest ITRPV estimates that p-type PERC (passivated emitter rear cell) technology represents around 80% of the market today, and will still account for 50% ten years from now. The report expects heterojunction to grow its share to around 17% of the market by 2031, with other passivated contact cells, particularly with n-type wafers – such as TOPCon. “Concepts on n- and p-type material with passivated contacts using tunnel oxide passivation stacks at the rearside will gain market share from about 6% in 2021 up to 50% within the next 10 years,” the report continues. “We estimate that n-type bulk material will become mainstream for concepts with passivated contacts and that only a much smaller share will deploy p-type material.”

 

Solar PV installations are expected to post 27% year-on-year growth in 2021 amid strong demand despite increased module prices, long lead times and rising freight costs, according to a new report from IHS Markit.  The most interesting developments in the last 2-3 years, and indeed when looking at capital investments today into new GW-scale fabs, have come from the heterojunction-based technology. Of all the n-type variants, it is heterojunction that appears to be the one to watch now, and has the scope to create a massive shift in overall PV technology roadmaps, across cell efficiency, module power and LCOE’s (from both mono-facial and bifacial variants).

 

Utilization rates for manufacturers of n-type technologies sit below 50%. The high technical requirements make it difficult for manufacturers to produce interdigitated back contact cells. At present, only a few manufacturers still produce passivated emitter rear totally diffused (PERT) cells stably, and PERT is expected to be replaced by tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) once the technology reaches maturity. While TOPCon is advancing slower than expected this year and some Tier-1 manufacturers have switched to conduct R&D in heterojunction (HJT), TOPCon manufacturers still have gigawatt-scale capacity expansion plans. Many have earmarked new PERC lines to be installed this year and for upgrade to TOPCon in the future. In light of these plans, TOPCon capacity additions will likely exceed those of HJT over the next one to two years. The outlook for HJT production in 2021 is less optimistic due to cost issues and low sales. However, there is still potential for HJT, as some large manufacturers and equipment suppliers are gearing up for capacity ramps. TOPCon and HJT are forecast to dominate n-type, taking up to 88% of global n-type capacity in 2021. Next year is expected to see TOPCon outstrip HJT, with the former’s production growing from 2.6 GW to 4.9 GW and the latter’s from 1.9 GW to 3.2 GW. Cost optimization achieved by the localization of equipment, improvements in technology, and continued bifacial market growth may lead to n-type capacity ramps becoming a trend in 2021. However, it’s difficult for n-type to catch up with the rapidly advancing p-PERC modules in terms of efficiency improvement, rapid adoption of new assembly techniques and large wafers (182 mm, 210 mm, and beyond) due to higher requirement on equipment and technology. This also affects the market acceptance of n-type products. Having said that, more and more manufacturers are investing in n-type. Initially, there were more vertically integrated companies investing in TOPCon because of the relatively lower upfront costs, but as HJT costs started to decrease and the technology becomes mature, some vertically integrated players also join cell manufacturers and new entrants to develop HJT. Considering aspects of technology, costs, and bifacial market, as well as Tier-1 manufacturers’ engagement in n-type technology, more TOPCon capacity expansion is expected to materialize next year.

 

The global HIT (Heterojunction) Solar Cell market was valued at 760.55 US$ million in 2020 and is expected to reach 11,390.10 US$ million by the end of 2027, growing at a CAGR of 39.7% between 2021 and 2027.

 

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