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Crystalline silicon solar cells continue to see strong growth

Post Time:Dec 24,2008Classify:Industry NewsView:352

Crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells are maintaining the lead over thin-film counterpart in China’s solar cell industry, as the segment’s output rose to 4,000 tons in 2008--almost 10 times higher that of the 387 tons produced in 2006.

With sufficient low-cost raw materials readily available, the production of c-Si solar cells is forecast to swell to 10,000 tons or expand by 150 percent in 2010, according to Applied Materials, Inc., a US-based solar module manufacturer.

This year’s increase in the production of c-Si solar cells is expected to pave the way for a wider market base in China as it will reduce production costs and drive prices down in 2009.

The c-Si segment currently secures more than 80 percent of the global solar cell market, and has registered an annual growth of more than 40 percent y-o-y.

Being the second most abundant element on earth, silicon remains an attractive resource to solar cell makers. Li Bencheng, vice general manager at Canadian Solar Inc. (Suzhou) forecasts that silicon-based solar cells and technology will continue to dominate in the next 30 years due to a mature manufacturing technology, non-hazardous properties and high efficiency.

Thin-film segment competes for market share

The fast-developing thin-film solar cell segment is projected to own a global market share of 15 percent in 2010 and 20 percent in 2015. However, the c-Si solar cell segment presents tough competition due to its higher solar cell efficiency and sufficient raw materials.

Thin-film solar cells require less raw materials and have lower production costs, but the drawback lies in the investments needed for production line construction, Li said. A 25MW thin-film solar cell production line will entail about $147 million--20 times more than the investments needed for crystalline silicon lines.

Thin-film solar cells can be directly integrated on glass, plastic and metal plates--making the material suitable for glass curtain-wall power generation.
 
Note: All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Source: Global SourcesAuthor: shangyi

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