Manufacturers are chasing new, more efficient technology to lower costs, taking over 24% of the crystalline silicon market in 2015, says Lux Research.
Increasing competition, diminishing subsidies and falling costs for silicon have put increasing pressure on manufacturers of crystalline silicon (x-Si) cells and modules. These competitive pressures have prompted many tier-1 players to develop higher efficiency solar panels, using emerging technologies such as selective emitter, HIT (heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer), or buried contact technology, according to a new report from Lux Research.
“Traditionally, x-Si cell and module producers such as SunPower and Sanyo could command a higher price for more efficient panels,” said Pallavi Madakasira, a Lux Analyst and lead author of the report. “But the threat from low-cost Chinese manufacturers has forced such players to keep increasing the efficiency of their panels just to compete on cost – without earning a price premium.
”Commodity materials such as glass, aluminum and copper comprise the bulk of a photovoltaic system, and the prices of these materials do not significantly drop at higher volumes. Because higher efficiency panels produce more power, they reduce the cost of these materials on a per-watt ($/W) basis. Lux analysts found that a 1% improvement in absolute efficiency contributes to $0.05 to $0.08 savings per peak watt.