Heraeus Photovoltaics Projects Solar Industry Growth Despite of COVID-19, Confident in Helping Industry Achieve 24% Efficiency for PERC Technology

PVTIME - Heraeus Photovoltaics, a leading technology solutions and metallization
pastes provider for the renewable energy industry, addressed the media during the
14th SNEC International Photovoltaic Power Generation and Smart Energy
Exhibition & Conference in Shanghai last week.

Having introduced its latest and most advanced line of
high-performance SOL 7 Series back in June, Heraeus Photovoltaics President Wen
Zhou focused mainly on providing an in-depth forecast which indicated that COVID-19
has not affected the current momentum and long-term worldwide growth of solar
energy.

As
PVTIME has reported, following the initial outbreak of COVID-19, production in
China was halted due to factory shutdowns. Initially, demand remained high for
solar products and there were large amounts of backorders for many
manufacturers from buyers who wanted to avoid potential supply shortages and uncertainty
regarding further disruptions. However, when production regained momentum in
China, there was a noticeable shift in the global supply and demand balance due
to the spread of the virus globally. Demand from the residential PV segment was
severely affected due to the financial uncertainty faced by the customers. The
C&I segment was also affected as discretionary spending got delayed, and
preserving short-term cash flow became a priority. Moreover, in the utility
segment, supply chain disruptions and weaker investments led to delays in
project commissioning as well.

However,
despite the slowdown, the renewable energy sector has fared better than the
rest of the energy sector. The solar industry is seeing signs of recovery with
the resumption of projects in many parts of the world, especially in China
where the goal of achieving grid parity has not wavered. Developers are aiming
to meet the deadline for grid connection before the subsidy window closes at
the end of year.

In
terms of installation capacity, the global estimate for 2020 was adjusted from
142GW to 105GW by IHS Markit. However, based on industry research and input
from its global network of PV trading partners, Heraeus is projecting annually
PV installations to nearly double by 2025, reaching 200 GW in new capacity additions
annually. Ms. Zhou stated, “The fact that PV is continuing to grow without
subsidies or market incentives is a positive indicator that solar is not only
establishing itself as a significant energy source, it is also sustainable.” Evidently,
China increased its original installation target from 40GW to 45GW while the
U.S market is expected to achieve record installations in 2020. In Germany,
with the removal of the 52GW cap, solar development will remain stable as well.

In a recent study commissioned by the International
Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), renewable energy production is projected to
grow significantly compared to traditional energy sources. By 2050, a
transformative energy scenario will increase renewable energy from 25% to 86%,
and solar energy is expected to grow from 1.5% to 25% of the total electricity
generation over that time period.

Unlike mature traditional energy sources, the PV
industry has yet to reach an ‘innovation ceiling’. Continual improvements in wafer,
cell, module production and processing technology continue to drive down the
LCOE, making solar even more economically viable. According to LAZARD, a global
research and advisory firm, since 2019, solar LCOE has dropped an impressive
90%, faster than that of coal, nuclear, or natural gas.

For Heraeus Photovoltaics, designing and providing next-generation
conductive silver pastes for the production of higher-performing cells and
modules will remain as its crucial contribution to the reduction of solar LCOE
and conversion efficiency improvement. According to the latest PERC efficiency roadmap
from the Institute for Solar Energy Research (ISFH), “advanced metallization
technology” and “multi wire + finger 10um” are key factors of the metallization
process that need to be improved in order to achieve the industry goal of 24% efficiency
for PERC technology. Through their offering of advanced metallization solutions
with ultra-fine-line and superior metallization contact, Heraeus is confident
that its customers will be able to achieve this goal.

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