Cell equipment purchases to hit 35 GW by 2017


In its report "Crystalline Silicon PV: Technology, Equipment & Materials", Yole Développement has provided a comprehensive overview of the current photovoltaics market, both for a better understanding of customer needs, and to facilitate proper evaluation of the strategies to be chosen by equipment suppliers and cell and module manufacturers to keep their businesses running.

"About 35 GWp of new solar cell manufacturing equipment will be purchased by 2017," says Milan Rosina, Technology & Market Analyst, Photovoltaics at Yole Développement. Under Yole Développement’s report, the main technologies and corresponding equipment used in c-Si solar cell and module manufacturing are analyzed in detail. For every equipment, its description, main characteristics, innovations and market trends, 2011-2017 market figures and main suppliers are given. The challenges and opportunities for equipment manufacturers are also provided.

Efficiency and cost driven market

Yole Développement has also stated that in the years to come, the manufacturing cost reductions will be led by equipment and material innovations. It adds that due to the fact that only a part of the whole existing manufacturing capacity is actually aligned to produce very high efficiency solar cells and modules, a part of manufacturing capacity will actually shut down or continue at lower utilization rates. New capacities that are suitable for very high efficiency products will get added. This is where photovoltaic equipment manufacturers can find the niche to win customers despite production overcapacities that are occurring now.

The company adds that current technology and market consolidation show an increased interest in high-efficiency cells and module approaches. The report provides details on how high efficiency photovoltaics allow for product differentiation and aid in cutting manufacturing costs as well as Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE). It additionally provides a review of various high cell and module efficiency approaches for c-Si and partially, thin film.

"Today, the key objective of PV manufacturers is no longer to increase their production capacities, but to differentiate themselves from their competitors in an overcrowded market thanks to added value products (with lower price, higher efficiency…)," explains Milan. Innovations in the field of photovoltaic equipment, materials and manufacturing processes are thus more important than ever.