ITRPV says solar module prices fell 50% in 2023

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German engineering association VDMA has published the annual ITRPV report, now in its 15th edition. The report reveals that module shipments hit a record high of 502 GW in 2023, with cumulative installed PV capacity rising to around 1,610 GW throughout the world.

Last year's growth was fueled by a steep 50% drop in panel prices, with a learning curve of 24.9% over the 1976-2023 period. This curve reflects technological progress and market conditions. The report also highlights the dominance of crystalline silicon PV technology, comprising 97% of the market, while thin-film technologies hold the remaining share. Monocrystalline wafers have ousted multicrystalline ones entirely from the market, with no mass production remaining for the latter, according to ITRPV.

This year, analysts expect n-type wafers to outperform p-type materials and reach a market share of 69% by the end of the year. In terms of cell technologies, n-type TOPCon will replace the previous market leader, p-type PERC, which will continue to lose market share, with heterojunction and back contact cells following this trend. Analysts expect mass production of tandem silicon solar cells in 2027, according to ITRPV.

The roadmap shows that bifacial solar cells will hold a 90% market share this year and throughout the next decade. However, for bifacial solar modules, the market share is only around 63%, suggesting a high level of integration of bifacial solar cells into monofacial module configurations.

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ITRPV also focuses on efforts to reduce material consumption, including thinner wafers, less silver use through fine-line printing, and copper-containing metallization. Analysts expect increased throughput in solar factories over the next decade. Copper interconnections will remain dominant for cell-cell and string connections at the module level.

Manufacturers are increasingly favoring larger wafer formats like M10 182 mm and rectangular formats like M10R and G12R, while smaller formats like M6 with 166 mm² are losing market share and may soon disappear. Even larger sizes than G12 with 210 square millimeters are expected soon.

In module sizes, products ranging from 1.8 m² to 2.0 m² will dominate the rooftop segment, while modules from 2.5 m² to 3.0 m² lead the PV power plant market. Most new factories planned for this year have a nominal capacity of at least 5 GW, enabling economies of scale. However, smaller factories below 1 GW of capacity still serve niche applications and local markets.

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