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Expansion of China's Photovoltaic Industry Drives Surge in Sensor Market (IoT Expo China-IOTE® Expo)


As the photovoltaic (PV) industry experiences rapid expansion, the upstream equipment and components market is entering a period of stable growth. According to forecasts by M DATA, the market size for sensors used in PV equipment in the Chinese market is expected to reach nearly 1 billion RMB in 2022, representing a 42% year-on-year increase.

Breaking down the market distribution across major PV equipment categories, sensors hold a market share of 38% in silicon wafers, 40% in solar cells, and 22% in modules.


Within the overall 42% growth in the PV equipment market in 2022, sensors in the silicon wafer equipment sector exhibited an impressive growth rate of 60%. This surge is attributed to the specifications of silicon wafers directly impacting the production costs of downstream solar cells and modules. The trend towards larger-sized and thinner silicon wafers has stimulated increased demand for high-quality and high-performance sensors.

In the production process of silicon wafers, the single crystal furnace equipment accounts for over 80% of the sensor demand in the silicon wafer equipment sector. Sensors employed in single crystal furnaces serve various purposes, including:

Optical Sensors: Utilizing infrared sensors to obtain the temperature of the heating element at the solid-liquid interface through openings in the furnace wall, indirectly providing the thermal field temperature for control purposes.

Flow Sensors: Installed in the total return pipe of the furnace body, these sensors cut off the heater power supply 30 seconds after water flow interruption, enhancing safety measures.

Temperature Sensors: Collecting and transmitting temperature data to the PLC control system, these sensors find applications in the cooling water systems of equipment such as single crystal furnaces, slicers, and diffusion furnaces in the silicon wafer and solar cell production processes.

In the solar cell and module production stages, temperature sensors and optical sensors are widely used. Temperature sensors are often directly mounted on the back of photovoltaic modules to measure the temperature of the solar cells within. Additionally, various displacement sensors have emerged to meet the detection demands of solar cell production.

Furthermore, in the power generation phase, sensors in photovoltaic inverters play a prominent role, with current sensors being the most significant. This category includes three main types of sensors: Hall current sensors (open loop, closed loop), magnetic flux gate current sensors, and tunnel magnetoresistance current sensors.

Among these, Hall current sensors were the earliest to emerge and are characterized by fast response, wide frequency bandwidth, and high accuracy, making them the mainstream choice for current detection in photovoltaic inverters. According to YH Research, the market size of Hall current sensors in China reached 240 million USD in 2022, representing a 12.5% year-on-year growth. The localization process in the Hall current sensor field is accelerating, with trends toward miniaturization, high integration, and intelligence shaping the future of current sensor technology.

Looking ahead, as China’s photovoltaic industry continues to expand, and production processes for silicon wafers, solar cells, and modules undergo continuous upgrades, the demand for sensors in equipment is expected to grow. This growth will place higher demands on the complexity and compatibility of sensors. Additionally, considering the temporary pressure of oversupply in the photovoltaic industry intensifying supply-side competition, the cost reduction and efficiency enhancement effects in the photovoltaic sensor market are poised to become more prominent. The photovoltaic sensor market is at the next juncture, presenting both opportunities and challenges.

This paper is from Ulink Media, Shenzhen, China, the organizer of IOTE EXPO (IoT Expo in China)

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