Why you should not write multicrystalline silicon off too early

Presentation by GCL System Integration at EU PVSEC 2018: Industrially feasible PERC cells on diamond wire sawn multicrystalline silicon wafers textured by RIE towards 21.62% efficiency
At the EU PVSEC, GCL presented an efficiency of 21.6% for an industrial multicrystalline solar cell – Image: Johannes Bernreuter

The European PV conference (EU PVSEC) has shown that multicrystalline solar cells are still in the game.

The current upswing of monocrystalline technology is mainly driven by the rapid expansion of Chinese monocrystalline wafer, cell and module manufacturer Longi (and of Zhonghuan Semiconductor) as well as Chinese industrial policy.

It began with the Chinese Top Runner Program in 2015, which has favored monocrystalline modules, and continues with the government’s cap on domestic PV installations, which ultimately eliminates smaller Chinese players that produce multicrystalline modules.

PV Tech Research predicts that multicrystalline technology will almost be wiped out by 2022.

However, Bernreuter Research thinks this forecast is overdone. Three out of seven members of the Silicon Module Super League – CanadianSolar, Hanwha Q-Cells and GCL System Integration Technology – are strong on multi and believe in the future of this technology. In India, the world’s third-largest PV market, multi has a market share of around 98%.

Longi has an interest in painting a rosy picture of mono. For sure, its market share will further rise, but a multi doomsday scenario overstates the case.

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