Materials and advanced battery concepts in the latest PV roadmap

Abstract The sixth edition of the international photovoltaic technology roadmap was released recently, demonstrating the key measures to continue to cut costs in the crystalline silicon photovoltaic value chain. As in previous versions, the roadmap identifies cutting material costs, improving manufacturing processes, and shifting to advanced battery technology as an important goal for the industry...
The sixth edition of the international photovoltaic technology roadmap was released recently, demonstrating key measures to continue to cut costs in the crystalline silicon photovoltaic value chain.

As in previous versions, the roadmap identifies material cost reductions, improved manufacturing processes, and the transition to advanced battery technology as an important goal for the industry to remain competitive.

After the industry has experienced several difficult times, the roadmap reports that as some companies continue to work to reduce the cost per piece in the value chain, they saw their turn into profitability in 2014.

The roadmap report, the so-called price experience curve, has historically seen that every time the cumulative PV module shipments are doubled, the average sales price will drop by about 21% and will continue in the next few years. It identified the introduction of new double-sided and single-sided contact battery concepts, along with improved silicon wafers, battery front and back, and component technology as key drivers for achieving a goal.

material

The roadmap indicates that polysilicon remains the most expensive material for crystalline silicon components and is therefore the focus of further cost reductions.

As before, the roadmap is expected to increase its share of the fluidized bed reactor technology relative to the Siemens process. Other processes, such as upgraded metallurgical grade silicon, are expected to yield no significant cost advantages over conventional polysilicon technology for the foreseeable future, but will continue to be used in the market.

In wafer production, the roadmap indicates that savings can be achieved by thinner silicon wafers, reduced kerf loss, and improved recovery. As the demand for thinner wafers becomes more important, diamond wire saws are expected to significantly increase their market share by 2025.

battery

The latest roadmap confirms the previous version's expectations that the monocrystalline silicon market is gradually shifting from p-type to n-type. This is driven by the n-type technology that develops more efficiently over time than the p-type.

But in addition, the roadmap predicts that polysilicon cells will be more than 20% efficient in mass production. It points out that all battery technologies have "great potential" to improve performance over time.

In terms of advanced technology, the roadmap predicts that the double-sided contact battery concept is a mainstream market, and PERC batteries gain a large market share compared to back-surface field batteries.

In addition, it is expected that by 2025, heterojunction batteries will gain a market share of up to 10%. Another leader is the double-sided photosensitive double-sided battery structure. The roadmap predicts that the proportion of double-sided batteries will increase to around 20% by 2025.

In summary, the roadmap is expected to produce 60GW in 2015. It is expected to increase to 80 GW by 2022 and to a peak of 220 GW by 2030. Since then, demand will fall again, to 150GW by 2040 and to a minimum of 100GW by 2050.

The roadmap shows that this model shows that the PV module market is not “endless” and therefore will not require “unending” capacity. However, it said that as long as manufacturers can continuously innovate and develop competitive and reliable crystalline silicon power generation products, photovoltaics will be a "significant" market in the next few years.

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