In its latest report, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) has stated that manufacturers in Asia accounted for 92% (over 130 GW) of global solar module production in 2020, a 10% increase compared to 82% in 2010.
China (mainland) held the majority share of module production with 67%. Europe with 3%; and U.S. and Canada with 2% in 2020.
Silicon wafer-based PV technology accounted for about 95% of the total production in 2020. The share of monocrystalline technology was about 84% (compared to 66% in 2019) of total crystalline silicon production.
Solar Cell and Module Efficiencies
In the past ten years, the average efficiency of commercial wafer-based silicon modules has improved from about 15% to 20%. Cadmium telluride (CdTe) module efficiency increased from 9% to 19%.
The best performing modules in the laboratory are monocrystalline silicon-based with 24.4% efficiency. High concentration multi-junction solar cells achieve an efficiency of up to 47.1%.
The record lab cell efficiency for monocrystalline is 26.7% and 24.4% for multicrystalline silicon wafer-based technology. The highest lab efficiency in thin-film technology is 23.4% for copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) and 21.0% for CdTe solar cells. Record lab cell efficiency for perovskite is 25.5%
The report estimated that the market share of string inverters is about 64% currently. These are inverters used in residential, small, and medium commercial applications for solar systems up to 150 kW. While the market share of central inverters, which is used for large commercial and utility-scale solar projects, would be around 34%.
About 1% of the market share belongs to micro-inverters. The market share for DC/DC converters or ‘power optimizers’ is estimated to be 5% of the total inverter market.
Inverter efficiency for state-of-the-art brand products is 98% and higher.
According to the report, global cumulative solar installations reached 707.5 GW by the end of 2020. Of this, Europe accounted for 137.2 GW capacity, and Germany accounted for 53.6 GW capacity.
The global solar power generation in 2020 stood at 855.7 TW – 3.2% of cumulative power generated globally. The global installation cost for large-scale solar projects declined 16% year-over-year basis in the last decade.
Mercom had earlier reported that researchers from Fraunhofer ISE at the 48th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference demonstrated how they had obtained a record conversion efficiency of 68.9% with a photovoltaic cell under monochromatic light.
Harsh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Indian Express, he has covered general interest stories. He holds a Masters Degree in Journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.