Date October 17, 2023
InfoLink’s analyst Alan Tu (杜加恩) on Oct. 16 shared his views on the current status and prospects of n-type technology at the New High-efficiency N-type Cell Technology and Application Seminar held by Nine Ocean Trading. 

Analyst Tu pointed out that, with the increasing focus on improving solar cell efficiency, the solar industry has been seeking a cell technology with higher efficiency, as the conversion efficiency of the most adopted p-type PERC cells has reached its limit. N-type solar cells, with their high conversion rate and low energy loss, will undoubtedly become the next-generation mainstream solar cell, which most companies at home or abroad have invested in their R&D and production.

Among the three major technologies for n-type cells, TOPCon, HJT, and back contact (BC), TOPCon is believed to be the next dominant technology after PERC due to its maturity, improved conversion efficiency, as well as relatively simple and replicable manufacturing process, offering cost-effectiveness. As many new production lines are still in the midst of increasing manufacturing activities, the output of n-type cells remains limited. However, with the massive production capacity coming online by the end of 2023, TOPCon's market share will officially overtake that of PERC in 2024. On the other hand, the market share of HJT and BC will see a slight increase, maintaining a portion of market share in high-end and niche markets.

TOPCon technology has continuously achieved results beyond expectations, whether in terms of yield, efficiency, and wafer thickness. InfoLink has found that there are six major solar module manufacturers with planned capacities exceeding 30 GW. The total planned capacity for TOPCon exceeds 1,700 GW, with 684 GW expected to come into operation this year, and an estimated module shipment volume of 110-120 GW.

There is around 378 GW of planned HJT capacity, with only 50 GW estimated to be realized this year. Despite the large gap in scale to TOPCon, HJT is growing steadily. It is anticipated that HJT's nameplate capacity could exceed 50 GW this year, with module shipments reaching 8-10 GW. Additionally, HJT has made several technological breakthroughs, including multi-busbar (MBB) and silver-coated copper, which are being developed and introduced into the market and deserve continued attention.

On the other hand, BC technology has been employed by leading companies despite its higher technical difficulty and has seen significant growth in 2023. In terms of module efficiency, BC is close to the other two, but requires optimization of its yield, which is only around 90% and unable to compete with PERC and TOPCon in terms of manufacturing processes.

Analyst Tu believes that the future development of n-type cells will drive solar cells towards higher efficiency and lower costs. This not only enhances competitiveness but also promotes broader utilization of renewable energy. For instance, in applications like rooftop solar systems, large-scale solar plants, and distributed generation solar projects, n-type solar cells will play an increasingly vital role, opening up more possibilities for the renewable energy industry.

The trend analysis of high-efficiency cell technology will be included in InfoLink's New Technology Market Report published in every February, May, August, and November. The report provides information and analysis on capacity, equipment, BoM materials, and yield of new technologies for wafers, cells, and modules, helping businesses grasp the industry's hot technology topics in real-time. For service requests, please contact us at: [email protected]
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