Industry Supply Chain
According to Yole Developpement’s new report ‘High Concentration Photovoltaics: Technology, Applications, Industry & Market Report’, the growing HCPV market reveals a strong attention of numerous industrial players. Indeed, HCPV technology development requires knowledge from various technology fields and therefore many technology players (wafer manufacturers, epi-foundries, IC companies, mechanical engineering companies, etc.) could take part in this development. Although HCPV market is shared currently mainly between a few established players with long project track records and important pipelines for new installations, like Amonix, Soitec and SolFocus, a fast growing HCPV market will provide new opportunities also for newcomers coming with novel approaches.
The compatibility of all HCPV system components is crucial for maximizing the system performance, reliability and durability as well as for decreasing its cost. Such compatibility could be well controlled by a vertically-integrated player that covers the whole technology chain. However, the current small HCPV market size does not enable the advantages of a vertical integration as known from the flat-plate PV. Such integration would entail high economic risk.
Therefore, the HCPV supply chain is currently very dispersed and system elements are supplied by a big number of players accounting for 80+ companies. However, there is an increasing demand for stronger cooperation between different technology players in order to improve the performance of HCPV systems and to lower the manufacturing costs.
An exhaustive list of the main players with their key characteristics for each element of the HCPV supply chain, their position on supply value chain and their geographical localization is given in this report. The examples of strategic partnerships and relationships as well as the level of integration of the main players allow to identify the main trends within the HCPV supply chain
Today, HCPV solar cells are typically grown in multijunction design on 4˝ germanium substrates. Although the cell is accounting for 10-20% of total system cost, there is a significant potential for its cost ($/W) decrease.
This could be done by new cell designs, manufacturing processes and by using larger wafers. Indeed, 6˝ wafers are already commercially available by major Ge wafer producers, such as Umicore. However, because of some limitations of Ge-wafer-based multi-junction cells, several companies, such as Spire and Solar Junction are already investigating GaAs as an alternative material. The recent efficiency records obtained by Solar Junction on cells grown using GaAs substrate demonstrate the high potential of this substrate. If produced at competitive cost, HCPV cells on GaAs could increase their market share in the market dominated today by germanium substrate.
Multi-MW Project Pipeline Indicates the HCPV Market Breakthrough
Although cumulative High Concentration Photovoltaics (HCPV) installed capacity represents only about 30 MW (less than 1% of the total PV market), it is currently at an inflection point to be deployed in utility-scale applications in some sunny locations and may surpass 1 GW of the new yearly installed capacity in 2018.
Indeed, in locations with very high Direct Normal Irradiation, HCPV is already proposing a lower Levelized Cost Of Electricity (LCOE) than flat-plate PV. Moreover, HCPV has high, still unused potential for cost decrease, mainly by increasing system efficiency and manufacturing volume.
Several multi-megawatt projects announced within the last months are indicating that the HCPV technology is beginning its transition from R&D development and small demonstration projects to utility-scale installations. The massive increase of production capacities mainly in the U.S.A. will strongly support the HCPV entry to the electricity business.
Further Information: Yole Developpement (http://www.yole.fr/)
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