High-efficiency silicon technologies are the next wave of solar innovation, raising module efficiencies as high as 24 percent over the next five years, according to Lux Research’s report “Silicon Solar Cell and Module Roadmap.”
The emerging technologies – such as passivated emitter, rear-contact (PERC) and metal wrap through (MWT) and even more efficient bifacial cells – will push leading module costs down to $0.48 per Watt in 2020.
“High-efficiency silicon modules are the key to capturing the distributed generation market because these modules maximize power output in a limited space, helping distributed generation compete with utility-scale photovoltaic plants,” said Tiffany Huang, Lux Research Associate and lead author of the report.
Lux Research analysts assessed innovations in solar cell architecture and the emerging landscape. Among their findings:
PERC will be an early winner, predicts Lux. PERC beats incumbent mobile technologies on efficiency and rival technologies on account of its lower capex, emerging an early winner. Major solar manufacturers such as Hanwha Q-cells, Trina, JA Solar and Sun Edison are already commercializing PERC technologies.
MWT deployment will gain momentum by 2020, says Lux. MWT products will reach large-scale deployment by the end of the decade, while other high-efficiency technologies like heterojunction and interdigitated back contact solar cells (IBC) will continue to meet demands for even higher efficiencies.
Bifacial modules will gain niche markets in distributed generation, according to the research. Solar modules that can absorb light on both the front and the back sides can be useful in distributed roof-mounted installations in high-reflectivity settings or aesthetics-driven building-integrated photovoltaic markets. They will lose out in traditional roof-mounted installations where back-side generation is limited, however.