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SNEC 2021 Wrap-Up II: N-type product overview

June 18, 2021 PV InfoLink

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From 2019 to 2021, cell manufacturers rapidly expanded production capacity, leading to gradual decrease in profits. Amid serious excess supply, Tier-1 cell manufacturers only secured slim profits. As in-house cell production capacity of vertically integrated companies increased and outsourcing volume declined, professional cell manufacturers are faced with business transformations, and thus adjusted the percentage of production for different sizes. Additionally, some of them turned to develop next-generation technologies, reduced investments on p-type PERC cells, and advanced towards n-type technology step by step. With major manufacturers leading technology developments in recent years, 2021 is going to be a pivotal year for n-type technology to enter mass-production in the future.

N-type products

The SNEC this year revealed manufacturers’ choices of next-generation technologies. Participating manufacturers were pretty much the same as last year.

  • HJT:Trina, JA Solar, Canadian Solar, Risen, Tongwei, GS Solar, Jinergy, Akcome, Astronergy, Ht-Stech, Huasun, Sunport, etc.
  • TOPCon:Longi, Jinko, Trina, Jolywood, Suntech, Tongwei, Yingli, DAS Solar, State Power Investment Corporation Limited (SPIC), etc.
  • IBC:Maxeon, Solargiga, SPIC, and FuturaSun.

Longi launched Hi-MO N, their first-ever TOPCon modules, whilst Trina and Canadian Solar exhibited HJT modules for the very first time. Some manufacturers, such as Trina and JA Solar, have been developing both technologies and exhibited both TOPCon and HJT modules.

Risen’s TNewT@N, a new technology that combines advantages of TOPCon and HJT, is claimed to have achieved 24.5% of average efficiency, and through optimizing hole contact selectivity, screen printing lines, and the quality of wafers, the efficiency is likely to reach 24.9%.

The exhibition saw innovations in n-type technology. Aiko, for example, presented Aiko Back-contact Cell (ABC cell). SPIC introduced perovskite/TOPCon laminated cells and TBC modules, indicating impending research and developments of high-end technologies.

From this year to next year, the actual capacity expansions and production volumes of TOPCon will exceed that of HJT technology. As a result, new cell production lines installed this and next year will be reserved for upgrading to TOPCon technology, which, compared to HJT technology, is estimated to see larger scale of capacity expansions in 2021. Manufacturers such as Longi, Suntech, Hanwha, Trina, DAS Solar, and Jiayue have announced TOPCon capacity expansion plans. Aside from Tongwei and Huasun, other HJT projects are all pilot scale productions.

The developments of next-generation technologies are with increasing significance, as the industry reached consensus that PERC products have entered the declining stage after massive capacity expansions. However, it still takes some time for n-type technology to enter mass-production. This and next year, whether major manufacturers’ TOPCon expansion projects will come online, the maturity and testing results of silver coated copper paste for HJT products, and the extend of cost per kWh reductions, as well as mass-production efficiency, and yield rates are all pivotal factors for further evaluations.

2021 SNEC N-type module
2021 SNEC N-type module
2021 SNEC N-type module
2021 SNEC N-type module

Stay tuned for more updates and stories on SNEC.
 

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