New technologies are already flooding the PV sector with companies continually reporting the adoption of PERC or n-type, bifacial cell technologies to name a few. In line with this, Lux Research in its latest report confirms this trend and further adds that these technologies have the potential to push down module prices to $0.48/Wp in 2020. Efficiency of modules is also expected to increase to as high as 24% over the next five years.
The technologies are namely passivated emitter, rear-contact (PERC), metal wrap through (MWT) and even more efficient bifacial cell technology. PERC technology is anticipated to be an "early winner". This is due to not just its efficiency potential but also on account of its lower capex. PERC demand has been seen to be spiraling upwards with PERC equipment makers like Meyer Burger receiving a steady stream of orders. Companies like Hanwha Q-cells, Trina, JA Solar, SunEdison, SolarWorld and Motech, to name a few, have already jumped onto the PERC technology wagon.
Bifacial and MWT
Bifacial modules are also set to gain niche markets in distributed generation. Being able to absorb light on both the front and back sides, these cells can be useful in distributed roof-mounted installations in high-reflectivity settings or aesthetics-driven building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) markets. German equipment maker Schmid for example produces a bifacial turnkey line and has seen orders also come in for this tool. MWT technology deployment is expected to gain traction by 2020.
Lux Research believes that these high-efficiency silicon technologies will boost the ability of distributed generation, an aspect that was ignored in the recent Clean Power Plan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
pv magazine did a special feature on future PV technologies where the high-efficiency silicon technologies mentioned above were included as well.