Update of the ITRPV roadmap shows three wafer formats will prevail

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From pv magazine Germany.

German engineering association the VDMA (Verbandes Deutsches Maschinenbau Anlage) has published an update to its annual International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV) report, in which it claims that three wafer formats will likely dominate the market in the years to come.

The 11th edition of the ITRPV, published in April, had already highlighted an increasing trend towards rapidly growing wafer sizes and the importance of creating standards for the industry. A step towards this standardization can be seen in the new update, according to which, in addition to 166mm wafers, 210mm wafers will be taken into account in mass production in the near future.

The authors of the paper also expect that from 2022 wafers with 182mm will also be considered. This larger size of wafers, however, could no longer be used by simply upgrading existing production lines and new lines will be necessary.

The ITRPV update also reveals that in the future, module sizes of up to four square meters will be used in mass production, while larger modules are not to be expected, at least in the coming years.

The VDMA experts also stated that the learning curve of PV currently stands at 23.5%, mainly because global solar module shipments have decreased slightly due to the coronavirus pandemic, among other things. In general, however, the trend that has been observed for years continues.

“The throughput of different plants plays a major role in terms of cost reduction,” they also noted. “The chemical processes are leading in terms of throughput, followed by metallization processes, which are showing significant progress.”

Whether these trends will continue to apply with regard to the development of wafer sizes and how much additional development work is necessary will be seen in the throughputs in the near future.

Author: Petra Hannen

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