Date November 19, 2021
In response to the world’s commitment to their net-zero targets by 2050, InfoLink Consulting held the webinar under the banner “Net Zero Future: Solar, Wind, ESS, and Carbon Policy and Market Developments” sponsored by JA Solar on Nov. 18. 

Figure: Carbon markets around the globe 
carbon market around the globe
Source: World Bank

Incessantly heeding to global renewable energy developments, InfoLink kicked off the first half of the webinar with analysis from InfoLink senior analyst Dr. Fang-wei Yuan, who discussed this year’s heated solar-plus-storage market trends, and then had researcher Sam Lin shared insights of the outlook of offshore wind in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr. Yuan indicated that global electrochemical energy storage market surpassed 10 GW in 2020 and is expected to double in 2021, reaching 22-25 GWh of capacity. The figure is expected to exceed 250 GWh by 2025, translating to an annual compound growth rate as high as 45%. Meanwhile, the promising solar-plus-storage market is estimated to see deployment increase to 40% by 2025. 

For the offshore wind industry, the Asia-Pacific region is going to be the growth engine around the globe. During the session, researcher Lin provided in-depth analysis of markets in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam, which have longer coastlines and favorable conditions for developing wind farms. The four markets, being export-oriented countries and under pressures from carbon boarder tax and RE 100, are urgently working toward their renewable energy targets. 

Taiwan, being the second fastest growing market in Asia, has installed capacity second only to China. The government wished to achieve 5.7 GW of installed capacity by 2025. However, given ongoing bidding process and clear local content requirements, researcher Lin believes that the target can be hardly achieved, as internal rate of returns is strangled. He projected that around 3.9 GW of installed capacity will be materialized by 2025. 

Regarding carbon emissions, researcher Judy Chao introduced the much-heeded Carbon Boarder Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and Border Carbon Adjustment Fee (BCA) of the U.S. In addition to international policies, industries also established their own carbon emission regulations, in response to global trends. For instance, both France and South Korea proposed carbon emission restrictions for the PV module manufacturing industry. South Korea groups module into three grades, based on carbon emissions. Grade I module are not only awarded with the highest score during tendering process but also government subsidies.

In the future, more and more countries will introduce policies and measures related to carbon emissions. In the face of transition to zero carbon, businesses can turn challenges into opportunities through calculating carbon footprints of their products, establishing plans to cut emissions, and tracking developments in the carbon market. InfoLink provides strategies for reducing carbon emissions to help businesses stay ahead of the competition.

The second half of the webinar focused on the rapidly changing supply-demand relationship in the PV industry. This year, in face of price surges amid upstream supply shortages, senior PV analyst Dora Zhao commented that: “Polysilicon and wafer both saw rising momentum in production capacity. It is obvious that in 2021, polysilicon production capacity increases slower than ingot capacity in the mono-Si wafer sector. This led to an imbalanced supply-demand relationship, and thus polysilicon production capacity fails to satisfy demand of all mono-Si wafer productions.” However, the growth of wafer production capacity will still outpace that of polysilicon, even if the latter markedly increase from 570,000 MT at the end of 2021 to 890,000 MT by the end of next year. As a result, next year, even though polysilicon and wafer production capacity appear surplus as compared to end user demand, polysilicon prices will only see slow decline. 

polysilicon supply and demand
Follow up, senior PV analyst Derek Zhao, shared his insights of wafer sizes and technology trends. Presently, the M10 format dominates the leading position and is expected to secure nearly 50% of market share next year. With more capacity expansions accommodated with sizes up to G12, the format will become mainstream years after. 

N-type TOPCon and HJT technologies have been widely discussed this year. TOPCon technology, having production cost per watt approaching that of PERC and can be upgraded from existing PREC lines, will see faster increase in both production capacity and output volume, as senior analyst Zhao noted. The HJT technology, on the other hand, sees greater potentials. The two technologies head different directions but both see challenges lying ahead. Presently, TOPCon technology treads water in terms of yield rates, whilst HJT requires high-end technology to reduce production costs.

In the last session, PV analyst Amy Fang elaborated on the structural imbalance between the upstream and downstream segments in the supply chain and the lower-than-expected demand in the fourth quarter, as module prices rose amid short raw material supply caused by energy intensity control. This year, module demand is estimated to sit at 164.4 GW. The figure is projected to come in at 195.6-212 GW next year, as module prices will only see slow declines, resulting in sluggish demand in the first half of next year and robust demand in the second half. 

This year, the world added 175-180 GW of cell production capacity and 140-145 GW of module production capacity. The excess supply led to high competition. The top 10 manufacturers, with advantages in cost control, brand effect, and sales channels, saw growing concentrations compared to the previous 60-70%, taking up around 90% of market share this year.