Exciting Updates Reported At TaiyangNews Innovations 2023 Conference

Expect Very Fast Pace Of Solar PV Technology Evolution In 2023 & 2024, Says Tongwei Solar’s Dr Guoqiang Xing As TOPCon Improves Further & HJT Makes Efforts To Become Mainstream Too

Exciting Updates Reported At TaiyangNews Innovations 2023 Conference

Tongwei Solar’s CTO of PV Business Dr Guoqiang Xing engaged in an executive fire chat with TaiyangNews’ Managing Director Michael Schmela during the event. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

  • TaiyangNews Solar Module Innovations Conference 2023 had industry leaders and experts from global PV industry in attendance
  • Companies presented their innovations to improve module efficiency and cost competitiveness
  • While TOPCon takes giant strides to take over from PERC in a few years, HJT technology is not far behind

The world of solar PV technology advanced at a breakneck speed in 2022 when high efficiency became the latest buzzword. In 2023, it attempts to get even better with innovations and ongoing research in alliance with industry players. We, at TaiyangNews, thought it is an opportune time to reflect on the technological developments realized in the year gone by, and also to gaze into the crystal ball to see what to expect next.

That why TaiyangNews brought together industry leaders from the world of solar PV to our 1-day Virtual Conference on Solar Module Innovations Conference—Looking Back and Forth held on Jan. 31, 2023

Anis Jouini, head of French national solar institute INES, stressed on innovations to bring down the cost of silver for TW scale manufacturing of solar PV by 2030, among others. The focus has to be on sustainable solar modules with very low carbon footprint, he emphasized. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

Talking about solar module innovations today and tomorrow in his presentation, General Director of French Institute for Solar Energy (INES) Anis Jouini pointed out one major change in the PV technology industry over the years. So far there was a focus only on silicon solar cell innovations to increase its efficiency to 25% which now needs to be taken to mass production scale, he said.

However, of late, the focus has now shifted to module innovations. He stressed on the need to radically reduce silver consumption to ensure TW scale manufacturing in solar PV, targeting 5 mg/W to 10 mg/W by 2030, with focus on low carbon footprint and circular economy.

Jouini batted for local manufacturing after factoring in carbon footprint of the PV industry when counted with regard to massive logistics and transportation costs, and not to forget the current energy crisis. “We need to reduce these costs for PV industry, the module, the frame, the glass. Hence it makes sense to localize manufacturing to stay close to customers in any part of the world. It will make it more fairly spread out without concentrating resources in only some parts of the world,” added Jouini.

TaiyangNews presented a review of our Top Solar Module Ranking for 2022. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

Having published 13 editions of our Top Solar Module Efficiency Ranking, TaiyangNews Head of Technology Shravan Chunduri offered a review of the year gone by.

Over the course of last year, after many years, Maxeon got true competition when it comes to the highest module efficiency. While the SunPower spin-off was able to increase its record commercial module efficiency by 0.1% from 22.7% to 22.8%, LONGi from China introduced a product reaching the same efficiency. In general, the number of products and companies offering efficiencies of more than 21.5%, which is the minimum level to be listed in the ranking, has been on the rise. More than 50% modules listed are in efficiency band gap of 21.5% to 21.7%, most of them PERC even as TOPCon is slowly making its presence felt on the list.

LONGi Solar’s Luka Qiu spoke at length about its dedicated DG product Hi-MO 6 solar module and its various efficiency records in 2022. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

Now one of the efficiency leaders, LONGi reflected during the event on solar cell and module efficiency developments in the sector. What’s truly interesting but still a little bit of mystery are details about the technology LONGi is using for its record product. LONGi Solar’s Product Promoting Manager Luka Qiu said the company’s Hi-MO 6 modules, which use the new cell technology HPBC, have an efficiency significantly higher than PERC or TOPCon panels. Average module product efficiencies are around 22.5%, while the maximum is 22.8% for commercial modules thanks to HPBC cells whose efficiency exceeds 25%, he said.

Right now, LONGi is offering its Hi-MO 6 modules only for the distributed generation segment, but to customers across the globe.

Trina Solar’s aim is for its Vertex N manufacturing capacity to grow to 30 GW annually by the end of 2023. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

During the conference, Trina Solar’s Product Manager Jerry Cao presented details for the company’s n-type i-TOPCon solar product, the innovated Vertex N module series, launched in October 2022 (see New Trina Solar Vertex N Modules Launched).

Trina Solar’s TOPCon cell uses PECVD poly and selective emitter technologies. It also includes high efficiency hydrogen passivation technology that ensures fewer defects and longer minority carrier life, according to Cao.

The Chinese company targets to increase the annual module production capacity of Vertex N panels—having front side cell efficiency of 25.5% based on 210mm size—from over 10 GW targeted for by the end of Q1/2023, to exceed 30 GW by the end of this year.

Lida Guo presented JA Solar’s cell efficiency roadmap till 2025. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

Speaking about PV module technologies and future trends, JA Solar’s Senior Product Strategy Manager Lida Guo talked about the company’s latest TOPCon product developments and also about its plans to launch a HJT module in H1/2023 with cell efficiency of 25.5% to be increased to 26.5% in 2025.

According to the company’s cell efficiency roadmap it also plans to enter perovskite and silicon tandem technology in H2/2023 with an efficiency of 27%, scaling it to 29% by 2025, expecting industry level efficiency to exceed 30% in the next 5 years to 10 years.

Guo still sees p-PERC modules as the mainstream product over the next 3 years, before n-type modules will become the leading product.

JinkoSolar said currently it plans to stick to TOPCon cell technology as of now, but may adapt HJT technology in the future. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

Presenting field tests for its upgraded module family of Tiger Neo in 2023, JinkoSolar’s Product Manager Leo Cong said the efficiency of the company’s n-type TOPCon monocrystalline solar cell has reached 26.4%, claiming to have created a world record for the 22nd time.

JinkoSolar counts its n-type cell production capacity as 35 GW with mass production cell efficiency of 25.4%, as against the higher efficiency limit of 28.2% to 28.7% for TOPCon cells. Right now, the manufacturer wants to stick to TOPCon, but in the future it may invest into HJT, Cong stated.

In 2023, Astronergy’s roadmap guides it to report 34 GW of TOPCon module capacity. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

TOPCon solar also remains the technology of choice for Astronergy as its Product Manager Xuanyi Shi shared the company’s roadmap towards achieving 34 GW+ TOPCon module capacity.

The module producer targets to report 49 GW cumulative module production capacity in 2023 with 69% or 34 GW of n-type, expanding it to 70 GW with 71% or 50 GW n-type by 2025. It exited 2022 with a total module production capacity of 20 GW with only 20% share of n-type with 4 GW.

On inquiry Shi explained that Astronergy is cautious in going fully n-type even faster as the market needs to catch up before it can completely switch over.

DAS Solar aims to further improve the cell efficiency of its DAON cell to 25.8%, up from 25.2% in 2022. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

During the conference, DAS Solar CTO Dr Dengyuan Song discussed the development of n-type TOPCon multi-GW level module production of the company with high power and low degradation.

Sharing the company’s technology and production roadmap in 2023, Song said DAS Solar will target to further improve the cell efficiency of its DAON cell to 25.8%, up from 25.2% in 2022. The cell efficiency of its DAON cells in mass production currently stands at 25.2% and for modules it is 22.8%.

It aims to scale up overall cell and module production capacity by 10 GW cells & modules each to a total of 30 GW each by the end of 2023, with half of it being n-type.

Tongwei Solar unveiled its massive production plans for the vertically integrated supply chain. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

Presenting at a TaiyangNews event for the 1st time was Tongwei Solar whose Module Product Development Department Head Jason Xia discussed module innovations from the world’s largest silicon and cell manufacturer.

Xia revealed massive manufacturing capacity expansion plans from Tongwei across the value chain as it targets up to 1000 kT polysilicon, 150 GW cell and over 80 GW module capacity by 2026. Its annual production capacity for polysilicon at the end of 2021 was 180 kT, for solar cells it was 45 GW and for modules it stood at 7.2 GW.

Monocrystalline wafer capacity stays the same at 15 GW at the end of 2026 as per Tongwei’s current plans.

It has developed PECVD-based TNC technology whose annual mass production capacity at the end of 2022 stood at 8 GW. The company is also steadily improving its competitiveness in module space with a super multi-busbar (SMBB) panel claiming it produces about 4.2% more electricity than a conventional PERC module during 30-year life in the field.

Executive Fire Chat

In conversation with TaiyangNews Managing Director Michael Schmela, Tongwei Solar’s CTO of PV Business Dr Guoqiang Xing discussed the module technology strategy of the world’s leading silicon and solar cell manufacturer during the executive fire chat session.

Even as the company expands at record speed into solar module production with a target to report 80 GW annual capacity by 2023, exceeding it between 2024 to 2026 to an undisclosed level, up from 14 GW in 2022, Xing said Tongwei will stay true to its core strength of silicon and solar cells. It will continue to supply silicon and cells to the market.

He pointed at the solar cell capacity expansion plans exceed that of modules, targeted to grow from 70 GW in 2022 to 102 GW in 2023, and thereafter up to 130 GW to 150 GW annually between 2024 to 2026. However, downstream integration is a key focus.

A Chinese pioneer in the field of HJT, Tongwei currently has 2 pilot production lines for HJT cells and 1 GW production line as part of its R&D facilities that led to it producing a 720W module. Without sharing too many details, Tongwei said it has further efficiency improvement and cost reduction technologies in the pipeline.

Responding to Schmela’s query about when can HJT compete with what appears to be the next standard cell technology TOPCon, Xing stressed that cost remains the biggest bottleneck and a lot of R&D work is needed to bring the use of silver down. Yet, with Tongwei along with several other industry players working on it, Xing is hopeful of HJT becoming a more competitive technology in the future. Tongwei is supplying HJT cells to the market and will continue to do so.

Looking forward, Xing forecasts 2023 and 2024 to see technology evolution to be at a very fast pace, as TOPCon will further improve its cost competitiveness and HJT try to come into mainstream. Because what’s also clear – PERC has improved much more than anyone expected and still has some leeway, which is why it will require further strong efforts for the high-efficiency technologies to reduce cost.

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews. Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power.

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