A TrendForce EnergyTrend report for the second quarter states that 56 solar cell manufacturers, accounting for about 80% of all solar cell makers, can now produce 210mm solar cells. Amid the brisk growth of 210mm products, this capacity surge represents year-on-year growth of 51%. Twenty-three module makers have now adopted 600W+ technology. Large and ultra-high power PV products are advancing rapidly because of their high power, efficiency, reliability, and immense cost benefits. They now account for 80% of capacity and shipments of wafers, cells, and modules, and have now become the mainstream solar market.
In short, 210mm high-power products have become an unstoppable force, opening up new paths for the industry by increasing efficiency, reducing costs, speeding up global decarbonization, and being able to achieve net zero emissions in the shortest possible time, even as various technology such as the N-type are constantly refined and streamlined.
As the cost of polysilicon keeps growing, the need to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve the internal rate of return (IRR) on projects has become more pressing than ever.
Trend: 23 businesses adopt 600W+ as high-power modules become focus of tenders
TrendForce tender figures show that the ratio of large 182 & 210mm (including 210R) modules being bought and deployed has increased significantly. This year high-power modules (≥530W) represented by 182 & 210mm (including 210R) variations have become mainstream products that central and state-owned companies have adopted. An analysis of the announced 89.4GW of PV module tenders indicates that about 72.2GW (77%) of them have no specific size requirements and merely want a power output of 530W and above. 17.2GW of tenders have specific module size requirements, of which large (182 & 210mm) variations account for 13.97GW, or 81.2% (ratio for sizes specified by 17.2GW). Demand for bifacial modules has risen significantly, accounting for 62% of tenders. Bifacial and double glass modules are now gradually being widely recognized in the market.
Tender scale of modules in various power ranges (Unit: MW)
Large high-power modules are becoming mainstream, particularly in ground power stations and the distributed market. Large distributed PV products are expected to be developed rapidly in the thriving market.
Power of PERC modules for ground power stations (Unit: watt)
The latest products in the PV industry are analyzed below, looking at various segments, such as wafers, cells, and modules.
Capacity of 210mm wafers rose 172%, with the share of large-sized wafers exceeding 80%
The single GW investment cost for products of a large size is constantly falling, reflected in reduced costs in corresponding production lines. Newly established capacity during the first half of 2022 was mostly compatible with large 182 & 210mm wafers. The TrendForce EnergyTrend survey points to large wafers (182 & 210mm) reaching 422.6GW of capacity in 2022, a ratio of 83.1%, of which 210mm wafers would account for 164GW (32.25%), a year-on-year increase of 172% (compared to 60.1GW in 2021). Large wafers (182 & 210mm) will have a market share of 89.97% by 2023, 210mm accounting for 274.6GW of capacity, or 46.35%.
Progress made in wafer thinning has exceeded initial expectations, yielding a sizable reduction in wafer consumption. Businesses faced with stubbornly high prices of raw materials are constantly reducing their use of wafers by rapidly switching from 165μm to 160/155μm, and will continue the move toward 150μm. Wafer consumption is thus expected to drop from 2.7-2.8g/W in 2021 to about 2.6g/W.
Capacity ratio for various sized wafers 2020-25 (Unit: %)
80% of businesses can produce 210mm cells under accelerated iteration between old and new capacity
The deployment of large 182 & 210mm (including 210R) cells is steadily falling in line with businesses’ capacity upgrades and iterations, as well as their shift in demand. According to the TrendForce study, the combined capacity of 182 & 210mm (including 210R) is now about 82.5%, of which 210mm (including 210R) accounts for 247.6GW, or 47.83%. About 80% of businesses (56) can produce cells of up to 210mm, representing year-on-year growth of 51%, the actual output depending on market demand. With continuing production of new capacity and the further transition of demand, large cells (182 & 210mm) are likely to reach a capacity of 593.25GW in 2023, and it is possible that 210mm cells will reach an overall capacity of 380.4GW and a market share of 57.59%.
Capacity ratio of large cells (Unit: GW)
Large modules accounted for nearly 80% of shipments in the first quarter of 2022
The capacity of large modules continues to grow, with new capacity essentially compatible with sizes up to 210mm.TrendForce’s study estimated that large modules will reach a total capacity of 442.2GW at the end of 2022, with a market share of 82.86% and 210mm accounting for 253.9GW of capacity, or 47.57%.
Major module makers generated combined shipments of 34.31GW in the first quarter of 2022, large modules (182 & 210mm) accounting for about 27.26GW of that, or 79%. Considering the relatively smaller burden on the historical capacity of second- and third-tier module makers, the new capacity established in 2021 is compatible with sizes of up to 210mm. The output of 182 & 210mm modules has surged, and shipments of these products now account for more than 80% of all large modules made. Falling demand for M6 modules and ones smaller than this is reflected in a pick-up in the shipment of large modules. Major module makers are expected to ship a total of 203-230GW throughout 2022, and shipments of 210mm modules (including 210R) will rise rapidly.
Shipments of mainstream module makers in the first quarter of 2022 (Unit: GW)
210 + N-Type technology is the way
PERC cells possess the advantage of being relatively low cost. However, in recent years, the scope for increasing their efficiency is reaching a cut-off point. As the cost of materials, transport and land increases, a further improvement in conversion efficiency, reduction in system costs, and acceleration in iteration and upgrades for N-type technology are becoming essential for PV businesses seeking competitive advantage. Thus, 210mm products emerged, and adding up any advanced technology could be possible thanks to the openness and extensive compatibility. Trina Solar has announced that it is building a plant in Xining that will focus on the new N-type and 210 technology for additional capacity. This will ensure that the company can create increased value for the next generation of high-efficiency N-type technology as a major supplier of main materials for N-type 210mm cells and modules, which are expected to reach 700W and above. Such technical advances point the way to the future in technology and products for the PV industry. Continuous R&D and deployment in HJT and TOPCon products among most businesses are likely to promote rapid improvement in product quantity.
The collocation of large-sized products and advanced technology has opened up additional space for improved efficiency and points held out the hope of reducing costs. 210mm + N-type continues to optimize LCOE and may contribute to improving quality in the PV industry. It may also further increase the ratio of PV in renewable energy, and serve the cause of carbon peaking and neutrality goals.
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