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A Brief Overview of Wafer In China

published: 2024-03-08 17:01

The thickness of Wafer

Thinning is beneficial to reduce silicon consumption and wafer cost, but it will affect the fragmentation rate. At present, the slicing process can fully meet the needs of thinning, but the thickness of wafers must also meet the needs of downstream cell and module manufacturing. Wafer thickness has an impact on cell automation, yield, and conversion efficiency. In 2023, the average thickness of multi-Si wafers will be 170 μm. Due to the small end demand in the market, there is no incentive to continue thinning, so it is predicted that the thickness will remain unchanged at 170 μm after 2024, but it is not ruled out that there is still the possibility of thinning in the later period. The average thickness of p-type mono wafers is around 150μm, down 5μm from 2022. In order to maintain the competitiveness of n-type products, the average thickness of n-type wafers for TOPCon cells and HJT cells is 125μm, and the thickness of n-type wafers for TOPCon cells is about 120μm, a decrease of 15μm and 5μm respectively compared with 2022.

Figure: Trend of wafer thickness from 2023 to 2030 (unit: μm)

Note: The thickness of mono wafer, n-type wafer and HJT is based on HJT half-cut wafers.

Market share of different types of  wafers

In 2023, mono wafers (p-type + n-type) will account for more than 99% in the market. With the release of n-type products, the market share of p-type mono-Si wafers has shrunk to 74.5%, and the proportion of n-type mono-Si wafers has increased to 24.7%. As the downstream demand for n-type mono products increases, its market share will also further increase. The market share of multi-Si products has decreased from 2.5% in 2022 to 0.8%. In the future, multi-Si products will exist in some niche market segments. Multi-Si wafers will still exist, but their market share will continue to be reduced by mono-Si wafers.

Chart: Trends in the market share of different types of wafers from 2023 to 2030

The market share of wafer link is the proportion of various products in the total shipments (including exports) of domestic wafer enterprises.

Market share of wafers of different sizes

In 2023, there will be a variety of silicon wafer sizes in the market, including 166mm and below wafers, 182mm square wafers, micro rectangular wafers, rectangular wafers, 210mm square wafers, etc., and each has a certain market share. Among them, 166mm and below, 182mm square wafers and micro rectangular silicon wafers accounted for 2.0%, 47.7% and 20.3% respectively, but the proportion will gradually decrease in the next few years. It is expected that 166mm and below size wafers will be withdrawn from the market around 2026, while 182mm square wafers and micro rectangular wafers may fade out of the market in 2028. In 2023, the market share of 210mm square wafers and rectangular size silicon wafers will be 20% and 10% respectively.

Chart: Trend of the market share of silicon wafers of different sizes from 2023 to 2030


Wafers of 166mm and below mainly include: M2 mono wafers, standard multi wafers, 157mm multi wafers, 161.7mm square wafers, 161.7mm square wafers, 163mm square wafers, 166mm square wafers, etc.;

Micro-rectangular wafers mainly include: 182mm*183.75mm, 182mm*185.3mm, etc.;

Rectangular wafers mainly include: rectangular 182mm*188mm, 182mm*191.6mm, 182mm*199mm, 182mm*210mm, etc.

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