News Article

Upgrading Equipment Should Help Solar Panel Makers To Survive

Companies need innovative tools to differentiate from their cheaper Chinese rivals. Cadmium telluride, CIGS and silicon cell manufacturers currently have an overcapacity of 82 percent
Reeling from a glut of production capacity, makers of solar panels need to acquire innovative production equipment.

According to Lux Research, solar firms need to do this in order to cut costs, increase margins, and offer differentiated products.

This year, global capacity utilisation is at 55 percent for crystalline silicon (x-Si) module production, 70 percent for CdTe and 80 percent for CIGS. Consequently, cell and module manufacturers are turning to core product differentiation to revamp margins and fend off low-cost Chinese competition.

"Across the industry there is recognition that innovation is needed to survive a shakeout," says Fatima Toor, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, "Turning Lemons into Lemonade: Opportunities in the Turbulent Photovoltaic Equipment Market." "Equipment suppliers have a vital role to play in enabling that innovation."

Lux Research analysts examined the PV production equipment landscape to identify opportunities for innovation.

In CIGS, standardisation is key. CIGS thin-film PV relies on custom equipment today. However, off-the-shelf tools and improved throughput will drive higher efficiencies, performance and yield - lowering capex and helping manufacturers attain scale and competitive production costs.

New cell designs lead to equipment upgrades. Emerging cell designs, such as selective emitter and heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer present potential for high efficiencies. However, they require new tools, and as a result, 60 percent to 70 percent of new equipment sales are for cell production equipment.

There's also an opportunity to reduce silicon costs. Using direct solidification and epitaxial silicon eliminate the need for wafer sawing. What's more, emerging quasi-monocrystalline silicon ingot growth enables 40 percent cheaper c-Si wafers.

AngelTech Live III: Join us on 12 April 2021!

AngelTech Live III will be broadcast on 12 April 2021, 10am BST, rebroadcast on 14 April (10am CTT) and 16 April (10am PST) and will feature online versions of the market-leading physical events: CS International and PIC International PLUS a brand new Silicon Semiconductor International Track!

Thanks to the great diversity of the semiconductor industry, we are always chasing new markets and developing a range of exciting technologies.

2021 is no different. Over the last few months interest in deep-UV LEDs has rocketed, due to its capability to disinfect and sanitise areas and combat Covid-19. We shall consider a roadmap for this device, along with technologies for boosting its output.

We shall also look at microLEDs, a display with many wonderful attributes, identifying processes for handling the mass transfer of tiny emitters that hold the key to commercialisation of this technology.

We shall also discuss electrification of transportation, underpinned by wide bandgap power electronics and supported by blue lasers that are ideal for processing copper.

Additional areas we will cover include the development of GaN ICs, to improve the reach of power electronics; the great strides that have been made with gallium oxide; and a look at new materials, such as cubic GaN and AlScN.

Having attracted 1500 delegates over the last 2 online summits, the 3rd event promises to be even bigger and better – with 3 interactive sessions over 1 day and will once again prove to be a key event across the semiconductor and photonic integrated circuits calendar.

So make sure you sign up today and discover the latest cutting edge developments across the compound semiconductor and integrated photonics value chain.



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