Monocrystalline solar modules on the rise – declining prices

6/23/17, 2:23 PM -

Monocrystalline silicon solar modules will catch up in the coming years against the polycrystalline competition. Prices will decline faster due to material savings.

Due to optimized wafer processing prices of monocrystalline solar modules are expected to decline.
Prices of monocrystalline solar modules are expected to decline due to optimized wafer processing.

The market share of monocrystalline wafers will increase from 27 percent last year to 47 percent in 2020. Accordingly, the supply of monocrystalline solar panels will also increase. This is one of the results of the Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020 by Bernreuter Research. A clear indication of this is the fact that manufacturers of monocrystalline wafers such as Longi Green Energy Technology are currently significantly expanding their production capacities.

Less material for the wafers

The advance of monocrystalline technology is mainly due to the fact that it is cheaper compared to polycrystalline competition. According to analysts at Bernreuter Research, silicon consumption for a wafer will be reduced by 25 percent by 2020. If manufacturers still need an average of 4.8 grams of material per watt of wafer power, this value drops to 3.6 to a maximum of four grams per watt. However, since the monocrystalline silicon is more expensive as a raw material, the material saving becomes more noticeable in price than in the case of polycrystalline silicon.

More efficient production reduces costs

The analysts see a reason for the decline in silicon consumption mainly in the manufacturing process. "In addition to the growing market share of monocrystalline cells with their higher efficiencies, the rapid spread of diamond wire saws will considerably slow down the specific silicon consumption per watt," predicts Johannes Bernreuter, head of Bernreuter Research and author of the study. These saws enable manufacturers to achieve higher throughput and use of a wire that is up to 40 percent thinner than conventional saws. This reduces the proportion of saw waste.

Dimond wire sawing is also getting more and more standard in the production of wafers for polycrystalline solar modules due to optimized production processes. “We expect more than 90 percent of the multicrystalline wafers to be sawn with diamond wire in 2020”, Bernreuter says. This could also enhance further declining prices of multicrystalline solar panels. (HCN)

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