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Power GaN market to grow at 80 percent CAGR

Estimated market size of almost $600M by 2020
According to a new report by Yole Développement, 2020 could see an estimated power GaN device market size of almost $600 million, leading to approximately 580,000 x 6in wafers to be processed. Ramp-up will be quite impressive starting in 2016, at an estimated 80 percent CAGR through 2020, based upon a scenario where EV/HEV begins adopting GaN in 2018 and 2019.

Today, the power GaN business is mainly centered on low-voltage DC-DC converters using 200V-rated devices. This business only generates a few million dollars in revenue. However, with the introduction of the 600V devices this year, GaN will grow quite fast in power-supply and PFC applications where technical added value and economics are obvious, says the report. It predicts that the power supply/PFC segment will dominate the business from 2015-2018, ultimately representing 50 percent of device sales. At that point, automotive will catch-up.

In UPS applications, the medium-power segment is likely to be very much in line with the GaN value proposition, and savings at system level will be demonstrated. The report forecasts that GaN technology could grab up to 15 percent of market share in this field by 2020.

Considering the possible improvement of conversion efficiency, and augmented by a predictable price parity with Si solutions by 2018, GaN will also be adopted slowly in motor control by 2015-2016, and reach around $45 million in revenue by 2020.

The PV inverters segment has already opted for SiC technology, although it is possible that GaN could partially displace SiC with better price positioning. But qualifying GaN may be challenging.

The latest Transphorm-Fujitsu agreement, in addition to Furukawa's IP portfolio's exclusive licensing, are signs that GaN technology is spreading across the value chain, reinforcing the leaders' market position but likely leaving the weakest players by the wayside.

Yole Développement forecasts that 2014 will only generate $10 million to  $12 million in device sales (in addition to R&D contracts and so forth). Such a moderate business means only the strongest will survive, and that several early birds will see their cash-flow swiftly dissipate. Yole Développement thinks that the GaN business will ramp up in 2016, exceeding $50 million in revenue. 

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