2018 has been a tough year for the solar energy industry. From the Section 201 introduced by the U.S. to the 531 policy by China, industry insiders had very little reason to be optimistic. Each link of the entire supply chain—from upstream to downstream—all shows signs of instability. However, the industry bounced back in 2019. Here are the must-know trends if you want to be one step ahead:
Polysilicon: The Top 5 Chinese Polysilicon Manufacturers Account for 74% of the Global Capacity
China is the center of the global polysilicon production capacity.
According to the Global Market Supply Report of EnergyTrend, top five global suppliers of polysilicon are GCL Zhongneng, OCI (Korea), Sichuan Yongxiang, Wacker Chemie (Germany) and Xinte Energy.
Three out of the top five global manufacturers are from China, which makes China the mega factory of the global PV supply.
As for the polysilicon production, cast monosilicon is the future of multi-grade polysilicon.
From 2019 onward, the demand for mono-grade polysilicon has clearly surpassed polysilicon. Polysilicon will demonstrate a significant decline after 2019H2.
Wafers: LONGi and Zhonghuan Are the Leading Manufacturers with a Combined Capacity of 110 GW
According to the Global Market Supply Report of EnergyTrend, LONGi and Zhonghuan are the leading manufacturers with a combined capacity of 110 GW, while their mono-Si wafer productions have accounted for 66% of the total mono-Si wafer production in 2019H1.
As for the new trend of wafers, the size and shape of the wafer is in the middle of a transformation.
The wafer size is getting thinner in width and bigger in size.
M6 (166mm) wafers are expected to dominate the market in the future.
The shape of the mono-Si wafers are changing from octagons to squares.
The manufacturers are transforming the shape of the mono-Si wafers to increase their efficiency without having to drastically change the manufacturing process.
Cells: P-Type Solar Cells Have Established Their Status as the Mainstream of the Industry Since 2018
From 2019 onward, the global wafer manufacturers are all upgrading their mono-Si cell production lines.
There are no plans for adding more multi-Si cell production capacity so far in 2019.
The biggest cell manufacturer is still Tongwei, of which the capacity can reach 30GW in 2020.
Modules: The 420W Module (72 Cells) Is the Mainstream in 2019
After 2019, the global module Capacity/Production Ratio is estimated to be on the rise (about 60%). The majority of the production will be even more concentrated in the top 5 module manufacturers than before.
As for the mainstream methods of enhancing the module efficiency and durability, they are as follows:
1. Wafers: 158.75mm
2. Cells: Mono PERC
3. Cells: Half-Cut
4. Cells: 9BB
5. Modules: Bifacial
Inverters: There Are Increasing Numbers of C&I Project Developers Opting For String Inverters
Spearheaded by Huawei, more and more C&I (Commercial & Industrial) project developers are opting for string inverters. Therefore there is an increasing number of Chinese manufacturers of string inverters intensifying their R&D efforts as well as production.
The market share of string inverters are estimated to exceed 50% for the 1st time in 2021.
However, different regional markets have different preferences for inverters. For example, the United States prefers centralized inverters.
For more information regarding the global supply, please refer to our Global Market Supply Report.