The establishment of a standard silicon wafer size would accelerate the solar industry’s efficient and standardized development. Now, 7 companies have proposed to agree on a M10 format. (Photo Credit: LONGi Solar)
- Seven solar PV manufacturers have recommended M10 silicon wafer (182 mm x 182 mm) as the new standard size for the industry
- They have called on the global industry to adopt this as the standard size for wafer which would ensure standardization of equipment manufacturing
- It would also end up confusing end users, claim the 7 companies, as having a standard would ensure a unified supply chain globally
Some of the solar PV industry’s bigwigs have called on the global PV industry partners and players to adopt the M10 silicon wafer size as the new standard for the development of silicon cells and module products. M10 wafers have a geometric size of 182 mm x 182 mm.
The new M10 standard size will help the industry get a unified supply chain and ensure standardization of equipment manufacturing and customer applications, argue the 7 companies who are signatories to this new standard size.
These companies, which include 4 of the Top 10 vertically integrated module manufacturers, are:
- Canadian Solar Inc.
- Jiangsu Runyang Yueda Photovoltaic Technology Co., Ltd.
- Jiangsu Zhongyu Photovoltaic Technology Co., Ltd.
- JA Solar Co., Ltd.
- Jinko Solar Holding Co., Ltd
- LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd.
- Lu’an Solar Technology Co., Ltd.
One of the signatories, LONGi Group, is the the world’s largest wafer manufacturer.
The rationale the group of companies gives for proposing this new standard size is that continuous innovation in the PV field has brought in several wafer sizes with bigger being the better to ensure high efficiency of modules. But the absence of a common standard has got the end customers confused and increased manufacturing costs for the entire supply chain.
In a statement issued on behalf of the 7 signatories, LONGi said, “To effectively address these issues and accelerate the industry’s efficient and standardized development, LONGi is jointly advocating the establishment of a silicon wafer standard—M10—with a geometric size of 182mm x 182mm, and its inclusion in the specification files of the industry’s standards organization. We are confident that this will optimize the use of resources and promote the photovoltaic industry’s continued healthy development.”
Over the recent years, wafer size has come to decide the module performance as manufacturers prefer to use larger wafer size to push the module output. Not long ago, M2 wafer was the norm with 156.75 mm x 156.75 mm size but with the trend towards larger wafer sizes it fell out of favor soon. LONGi stopped mass production of M2 since April 2020. It has been instead pushing for M6 format with 166 mm x 166 mm size.
However, several other big names are now pushing for the M12 wafer size with 210 mm x 210 mm dimensions. This was launched in August 2019 by the other leading mono wafer manufacturer, Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor (TZS). In the meantime, other solar industry bigwigs such as Risen Energy, Trina Solar, GCL System Integration and Aiko Solar have announced to produce cells/modules using M12. TZS is constructing a 210 mm wafer manufacturing project with 10 GW annual production capacity, as per media reports (see Tianjin Zhonghuan Starts Trial On 10 GW Wafer Fab).
It would be helpful for everyone in the industry if fewer sizes exist – and this agreement seems like a very good approach. However, it remains to be seen what size will dominate in the future. Aiko, a leading cell manufacturer, for example, wants to produce in its new cell factory products from 180 to 210 mm.