Solar energy photovoltaic focusing on higher efficiencies to reduce costs

Lux Research Inc. (Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.) announced the release of a new report which states that competitive pressures in the crystalline silicon solar power photovoltaic (PV) industry are driving more manufacturers to develop technologies for high-efficiency PV modules.

"Traversing the Road to Higher Crystalline Silicon Efficiencies: Who Stands to Change the Game, and How it Will Play Out" also notes rising research and development spending among equipment suppliers, and that these high-efficiency modules are more likely to be used in utility-scale PV plants.

“Traditionally, crystalline silicon cell and module producers such as SunPower and Sanyo could command a higher price for more efficient panels,” said Lux Research Analyst Pallavi Madakasira, lead author of the report.

“But the threat from low-cost Chinese manufacturers has forced such players to keep increasing the efficiency of their panels just to compete on cost – without earning a price premium.”

Lux Research estimates that high-efficiency crystalline silicon PV will reach a USD 8.6 billion market in 2015, comprising 24% of crystalline silicon PV sales.

Technologies mentioned in the report include selective emitter technologies, Sanyo’s heterojunction with intrinsic layer (HIT) technology and buried contact technology.

The report notes that more efficient PV modules reduce costs by lowering the required quantities of commodity materials such as glass, aluminum and copper on a per watt basis.

Lux Research estimates that a 1% improvement in absolute efficiency contributes to a savings of USD 0.05 to USD 0.08 per watt.