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Trends to watch at SNEC 2021: Demand, ultra-high power modules, BIPV, solar-plus-storage

June 3, 2021 InfoLink

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The SNEC PV Power Expo, the world’s largest solar trade exhibition, unveils on June 3 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center. So far this year, the PV supply chain has experienced several rounds of price increases driven by polysilicon shortage, hitting end-market demand. Combined with persistently high ocean freight rates and steel prices, as well as semiconductor chip shortage, these factors cause the internal rate of return of PV stations to shrink continuously. Moreover, difficulty in predicting polysilicon price trends adds uncertainties to the market post SNEC. PV InfoLink will monitor grid parity projects in China and demand in overseas markets during SNEC.

With modules rated at 500-600 W having been rapidly commercialized over the past year, the rival between 182mm and 210mm formats continues into this year’s edition. Leading manufacturers promote 182mm and 210mm-modules, respectively, while quite a few medium-sized manufacturers showcase modules featuring both size variants. As size goes bigger and the number of cells increases, this year saw significantly more modules rated beyond 700 W. Meanwhile, some modules feature light weight that provides solutions to heavy loads brought by larger module size. 

Amid rising environmental awareness, this year saw more manufacturers introduce building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) products that offer aesthetical and economical solution. 

While module power output improves rapidly, cell technology, PV inverters and solar mounting brackets, as well as energy storage systems are also advancing to help maximize IRR of PV stations. 

In terms of cell technology, the competition between TOPCon and HJT for the next-generation cell technology continues. Some highlights this year include the cutting-edge rear contact solar cells and tandem solar cells. After larger wafers, cell technology will continue to play a crucial role in improving efficiencies.   

Solar-plus-storage is changing the renewable energy landscape. In addition to PV inverter and energy storage system suppliers, more vertically integrated manufacturers introduce integrated solar energy storage solutions at the expo, paving way for a new era of solar-plus-storage. The competition of solar-plus-storage systems is heating up even more in the residential, C&I and utility scale segments this year.

Stay tuned for more updates and stories on SNEC!


InfoLink’s sub-brand ESS InfoLink has recently launched energy storage market report. Click “Li-ion Battery Energy Storage Market Report H1 2021” for more details.

InfoLink Li-Ion Battery Energy Storage Market

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