Santa Clara, Calif. (PRWEB) May 09, 2013
After falling 15% in 2012, solar photovoltaic wafer production is forecast to grow 19% in 2013, passing 30 GW and recovering to the 2011 level, according to the latest NPD Solarbuzz Polysilicon and Wafer Supply Chain Quarterly. However, industry utilization is expected to remain below 60%, and while prices have stopped falling, no significant increases are expected, so profitability for wafer makers will remain challenging.
Multicrystalline silicon (multi c-Si) technology is forecast to continue its dominance of the wafer market in the short to mid-term. However, the higher efficiency solar cells that can be produced using monocrystalline silicon (mono c-Si) wafers continue to be in demand for applications where space is restricted. The higher efficiencies enable pricing at a premium over standard multi c-Si modules. In particular, rapid growth in the Japanese market is creating demand for premium efficiency modules that use mono c-Si wafers.
“Supported by attractive solar PV incentive rates, Japan will account for more than 10% of global PV demand in 2013,” stated Charles Annis, Vice President at NPD Solarbuzz. “With a strong rooftop segment and limitations on the availability of land for large-scale ground-mount installations, Japan has now become a key driver for mono c-Si based modules.”
However, for mono c-Si wafers to increase market share compared to multi c-Si wafers, improvements in mono ingot production and module efficiencies will be required. Annis added: “Multi c-Si wafer manufacturers are constantly improving casting approaches and developing new high-efficiency multi-wafers. Leading wafer manufacturers are now selling high-efficiency multi c-Si wafers with efficiencies as high as 18%, which is in the range of low end mono c-Si wafers, and thus helps maintain the competitiveness of multi c-Si based products.”
In the long term, n-type mono c-Si wafers and enhanced mono performance supported by advanced cell designs and manufacturing have the potential to lower total costs per watt and enable faster growth of the mono c-Si wafer market. Assuming the success of these technologies, NPD Solarbuzz forecasts that mono c-Si cell production will grow at a faster rate than multi c-Si cells beginning in 2015, expanding into more applications and increasing market share.
For more information about the NPD Solarbuzz Polysilicon and Wafer Supply Chain Quarterly, contact us at one of our seven global locations, email us at contact(at)solarbuzz(dot)com, or call Charles Camaroto at 1.516.625.2452 for more information.
About NPD Solarbuzz
NPD Solarbuzz, part of The NPD Group, offers Marketbuzz, Solarbuzz Quarterly, and annual downstream photovoltaic (PV) market reports, providing the solar energy and PV industries with global historical and forecast data for the PV supply chain. For more information, visit http://www.solarbuzz.com or follow us on Twitter at @Solarbuzz.
About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions. By combining unique data assets with unmatched industry expertise, we help our clients track their markets, understand consumers, and drive profitable growth. Sectors covered include automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food/foodservice, home, office supplies, sports, technology, toys, video games, and wireless. For more information, visit npd.com and npdgroupblog.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdtech and @npdgroup.
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Lauren Leetun, APR
SAVVY Public Relations
The NPD Group