Increasing the solar wafer size has been one of the general trends since 2010 in the solar industry sector. Before 2010, The wafer size of traditional monocrystalline wafers was 125mm x 125mm for a long time.
A few years later, some producers started to produce solar panels with bigger size wafers than before, 156mm x 156mm. This was called M zero (M0). It took two or three years to make the transition from traditional monocrystalline to M0 wafer size. As of 2014, M0 was the mainstream of wafer production in the industry.
The trend did not stop by M0 and PV manufacturing is still very interested in coming up with new wafer sizes. The main reason behind this interest is reaching a lower cost per watt ($/W). Bigger wafer size inevitably covered larger areas of the solar panel’s surface than before. Therefore, it yielded more power in the same space. Then, it also resulted in reducing the balance of system (BOS) cost.
By the end of 2013, a number of China-based wafer producers (LONGi Solar, Zhonghuan, Jinglong, Solargiga, and Comtec) jointly issued the standards for wafers (M2) 156.75mm x 156.75mm. The move from M0 to the larger formats of M2 in mass production started in 2016 according to PV-Tech.
There were also a few PV manufacturers that produced a larger wafer size, 161.7mm x 161.7mm, M4, during this time. Larger formats of solar wafers are expected to enter into the production line of solar panels including 166mm x 166mm, M6, which could gain a 30% market share over the next 10 years.
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