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PV Tech Interview - Jolywood Vice President Dr. Liu Zhifeng Explains the development trend of N-type cell technology

Jolywood has been engaged in the production and R&D of N type bifacial cells for more than 6 years, and has shipped N type cells and modules over 4.1 GW after years of efforts. Many projects around the world use our N type products, including China Top Runner Project and Middle East super-large ground power station, and our products were deeply recognized by our customers. Currently, N TOPCon technology has become a hot spot in the market, and is also considered to be the direction of the next generation of crystal silicon technology development. Jolywood cannot achieve such a success without so many years of perseverance in PV field. Facing N TOPCon technology development period, we will seize the opportunity to actively develop new technologies and layout new production capacity. At present, we have achieved a mass production the highest efficiency of 24.5% under J-TOPCon 2.0 technology and our company has just announced a production capacity expansion plan of 16GW TOPCon cells, which is expected to be completed in the next year. Jolywood will have more than 10GW TOPCon cells production capacity by then.

Currently, large size of silicon wafer in the market is the trend of industry development. The modules used 182/210 wafer have become a popular new star in PV industry. The new product we released at SNEC is Niwa Max, a 700W super high power TOPCon module based on 210 silicon wafer. The launch of this product will guarantee lower LCOE for our customers. We hope Niwa Max can bring great value to our customers in the future and promote the early arrival of “carbon neutrality, emission peak”.

At present, ground power stations are still the mainstream demand of PV market, accounting for more than 70% of global market. As for ground power station, the investment income and LCOE are the primary factors to decide the investment of power station. So how to minimize the LCOE of power station are our ultimate demand for product R&D and manufacturing, as well as the logic that we want to make our products high quality. Compare with the other N type cell technologies (like HJT and IBC), TOPCon has same mass production efficiency, but TOPCon has the lowest manufacturing costs per watt among them and TOPCon also have the more competitive LCOE than the current mainstream PERC module. That is the main reason why Jolywood chose TOPCon technology.

In the next step, we will continue to deepen the R&D of TOPCon technology, persistently reduce costs and improve efficiency, and promote TOPCon to become the mainstream technology products of next generation. Meanwhile, we are also focusing on development of perovskite stacking technology as the next technology reserve.

We can clearly see that PERC cell is the mainstream product, and it has advantages in terms of unit GW capacity investment and non-silicon costs, but its efficiency improvement has encountered a great bottleneck since last year. Therefore, many leading solar companies already focused their attention on N type technology since 2020 and 2021. After many years’ effort of Jolywood, now we can be able to coverage the unit GW capacity investment of TOPCon cells with PERC, PERC is about RMB150 million, and we can achieve RMB1.8million for TOPCon. The non-silicon cost is also very close to PERC, and the price difference is almost within 1 cent. Therefore, compared with PERC, TOPCon cells have increasingly obvious cost-effective advantages.   

Recently, other leading companies in PV industry have started to make announcements about the TopCon cells efficiency and their plans to start TopCon cell manufacturing technology. We can see that many leading companies are showing N type products and TOPCon technologies at SNEC this year, which indicates that a large-scale expansion of the N type cell production capacity will be formed in the next two to three years. The 2024 point-in-time may come earlier.