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Silicon wafer inventory piles up, can Longi's silicon wafer TERA become the breakthrough key?

Views: 2000     Author: Rachel     Publish Time: 04-09-2024      Origin: company official website、China Silicon Industry

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Due to rapid expansion of silicon wafer capacity in China over the past two years, in 2023, China's polysilicon annual output exceeded 1.43 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 66.9%; silicon wafer annual output exceeded 622GW, a year-on-year increase of 67.5%.


Currently, China is evidently the country with the highest silicon wafer production globally, and its silicon wafer prices are most representative. Among them, the production capacity of the twin giants Longi and TCL Inner Mongolia has both approached the 200GW mark. The sizes of silicon wafers in the entire industry are mainly concentrated in the range of 156.75mm to 210mm, with 182mm and 210mm still being the market leaders.


PV Silicon wafer

However, in the beginning of 2024, the oversupply situation in the silicon wafer industry has become particularly severe.


According to data from the China Silicon Industry Association, over the past 3 months, the price of silicon wafers has dropped by more than 30%. Last week, the decline in silicon wafer prices continued to expand, with the average transaction price of N-type monocrystalline silicon wafers at 1.7 yuan/piece, down 5.5% from the previous week; the average transaction price of M10 monocrystalline silicon wafers at 1.7 yuan/piece, down 2.86% from the previous week; the average transaction price of G12 monocrystalline silicon wafers at 2.4 yuan/piece, down 5.8% from the previous week.


Not only in terms of price, the industry is also advancing in technology. While many are busy reducing prices or cutting production, Longi has launched a new series of silicon wafers: TERA.


According to Longi, the Tera series silicon wafers can not only meet the requirements of all mainstream cell technologies on the market (TOPCon, HJT, BC), but also provide various mainstream sizes and thicknesses required by the market simultaneously, with a potential efficiency improvement of 0.09%.


At the same time, Deng Hao, head of the Longi Silicon Wafer Business Division R&D Center, further stated that Tera silicon wafers do not require the construction of new production lines, and the equipment can be compatible for use, so the cost is basically comparable to existing technologies. Furthermore, with the increase in production volume, it will have more advantages in terms of pricing.

Mono Silicon wafer


Regarding this, industry insiders have mixed opinions. Some believe that the launch of this silicon wafer may end the meaningless size competition in the silicon wafer field, and accelerate efficiency improvement in downstream battery terminals. However, some hold reservations about Longi completely denying the CCz (Continuous Czochralski) process.


In terms of key parameters, compared with previous silicon wafer products, the ratio of the resistance at the head and tail of the crystal rod in the Tera series has been greatly reduced. It can achieve consistent axial resistance distribution without the need to shorten the rod length that should have been prepared by the RCz (Repeatable Czochralski) process, thus achieving a reduction in the ratio of resistance at the head and tail of the crystal rod from 3 times to within 1.5 times under consistent rod length. This indicates that its distribution of cell efficiency is relatively more concentrated and can effectively improve the difference in brightness and darkness at the component end.

Tera Silicon wafer

Tera

N-type Silicon wafer

N-type


In terms of test parameters, Tera continues the carbon and oxygen content of Longi's previous N-type silicon wafers. Moreover, Tera exhibits stronger mechanical properties, with a 16% increase in flexural strength compared to conventional products, and stronger fracture resistance, which will help in thinning silicon wafers and potentially reduce the fragment rate in the solar cell manufacturing process.


According to the official plan, Tera silicon wafers will start matching verification in April of this year, jointly optimizing processes with solar cell  factories, and begin mass importation in September.


It is worth noting that the production process of Tera silicon wafers has overcome the difficulties of CCz and RCz. Longi's ambition to use one type of silicon wafer for all markets is quite significant. Faced with companies and investors focusing on the development of CCz technology, the industry's competitive pressure is also considerable.

Combined with market factors, current silicon wafer prices continue to decline, almost halved. Therefore, the final selling price of Tera may become the key to whether it can break through. As for whether end-demand parties will approve Tera, it still requires time to verify.


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