In the ever-evolving landscape of solar technologies, the competition between heterojunction (HJT) and TOPCon in the n-type iteration wave is heating up, with both technologies vying for supremacy in 2024.
While TOPCon currently leads the charge, HJT is making strides in production capacity, efficiency, and cost reduction, positioning itself as a strong contender in the solar energy market.
While TOPCon has undoubtedly taken the lead in terms of production capacity, HJT is not trailing far behind.
Despite several top-tier manufacturers disclosing investments in both TOPCon and HJT technologies, tangible strides in HJT production have been made by only a select few. Among these notable producers advancing in HJT production are Huasun, Risen Energy, Akcome, Jinergy, Jingang Solar, SPIC, Grand Sunergy, etc.
Huasun, in particular, is expected to achieve a production scale of 20 GW by the end of the year, showcasing rapid advancement.
According to Infolink’s predictions, the global HJT production capacity in 2023 will reach approximately 50 GW, making up 10.8 percent of the total n-type production capacity. It is projected that an additional 80 GW of HJT manufacturing facilities will be brought into operation in 2024.
Rising demand for HJT
While HJT lags behind TOPCon in terms of production scale, the competition within the TOPCon sector is more intense.
With the accelerated implementation of production capacity by the end of this year and the upcoming year, internal competition within TOPCon may further intensify, and a probable event is the decline in prices.
Recent tender results indicate that bidding prices for TOPCon modules are approaching the cost line. In contrast, the overall production capacity for HJT remains relatively limited, resulting in less intense internal competition.
In the end-user market, the demand for HJT is on a steady rise, with major players like Risen Energy, Huasun Energy, and Akcome securing gigawatt-level orders from global customers.
HJT modules have gained significant traction, especially in the European and Australian markets, where they find applications in ground-mounted solar installations, commercial and industrial (C&I) projects, and residential scenarios.
For instance, in February, TW Solar signed a three-year cooperation framework agreement with Energy 3000 to supply HJT modules.
In April, the European EPC Inercom inked a framework agreement with Huasun, planning to procure more than 1.5 GW of HJT modules by the end of 2025.
In June, Risen Energy signed a contract with the Australian firm OSW, committing to supply 1 GW of HJT modules from 2023 to 2025.
On November 7th, Akcome sealed the deal with a European customer, signing a 1 GW HJT module sales contract and amassing a total signed order of 2 GW.
In 2024, addressing cost challenges is crucial for the widespread adoption of HJT technology. Presently, the non-silicon cost gap between HJT and PERC stands at less than CNY 0.1/W, while the differential with TOPCon is approximately CNY 0.05/W.
The industry collectively foresees that by 2024, collaborative initiatives will optimize HJT costs, leading to a thorough parity with TOPCon.
Companies highlight metallization cost reduction as a central focus for achieving this objective. This entails optimizing the grid pattern, incorporating silver-plated copper, leveraging zero-busbar processes, and utilizing copper plating to significantly curtail silver paste usage.
Huasun reported that its HJT cells have achieved an average conversion efficiency of 25.8%, with champion efficiency hitting 26.2%.
By the end of 2023, with the mass production of modules incorporated with zero-busbar technology, the overall cost of HJT wafer, cell, and module is expected to be comparable to the cost of TOPCon technology.