Installed photovoltaic capacity in the world reached 1.6 TW

The new edition of the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV) reveals that the world’s installed photovoltaic capacity reached 1.6 TW at the end of last year. The learning curve, which reflects average module prices relative to cumulative shipments, is 24.9% for the period 1976 to 2023.
The German engineering association VDMA has published the annual ITRPV report, which is now in its 15th edition. The report reveals that module shipments reached a record 502 GW in 2023, with cumulative installed PV capacity increasing to around 1,610 GW worldwide.

Last year’s growth was driven by a sharp 50% drop in panel prices, with a learning curve of 24.9% over the period 1976-2023. This curve reflects technological progress and market conditions. The report also highlights the dominance of crystalline silicon photovoltaic technology, which accounts for 97% of the market, while thin film technologies hold the remaining share. According to the ITRPV, monocrystalline wafers have completely displaced multicrystalline wafers from the market, of which there is no longer mass production.

This year, analysts expect n-type wafers to overtake p-type materials and reach a 69% market share by the end of the year. In terms of cellular technologies, n-type TOPCon will replace the previous market leader, p-type PERC, which will continue to lose market share, and heterojunction and back-contact cells will follow this trend. Analysts expect mass production of tandem silicon solar cells to occur in 2027, according to ITRPV.

The roadmap shows that bifacial solar cells will have a 90% market share this year and over the next decade. However, for bifacial solar modules, the market share is only around 63%, suggesting a high level of integration of bifacial solar cells into monofacial module configurations.

ITRPV is also focused on efforts to reduce materials consumption, including thinner wafers, less use of silver through fine line printing, and copper-containing metallization. Analysts expect solar factory output to increase over the next decade. Copper interconnects will continue to be dominant for connections between cells and strings at the module level.

Manufacturers increasingly prefer larger wafer formats such as 182mm M10 and rectangular formats such as M10R and G12R, while smaller formats such as 166mm² M6 are losing market share and could soon disappear. Sizes even larger than the G12 with 210 square millimeters are expected soon.

In module sizes, products ranging from 1.8 m² to 2.0 m² will dominate the rooftop segment, while modules from 2.5 m² to 3.0 m² will lead the PV power plant market. Most of the new factories planned for this year have a nominal capacity of at least 5 GW, allowing for economies of scale. However, smaller factories with less than 1 GW of capacity still serve specific applications and local markets.