In recent years, energy efficiency, environment compatibility, and cost reduction have been emerging as critical issues across the semiconductor industry. The electronics and semiconductor industry has launched various semiconductor solutions such as insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) for solar power systems. Various semiconductor products used in solar PV market include PV cells, insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), metal oxide field effect transistors (MOSFETs), diodes, couplers, analog IC, logic IC, micro components and optical semiconductors, among others. Factors driving the growth of the solar power market include volatility in fossil fuel prices, environmental concerns, government incentives, and technological developments.
The demand for semiconductor power devices in solar PV is spurred by rising concerns over efficiency in performance to reduce power losses. Continued focus on design improvements across the electrical and electronics industry has been driving the growth in demand of semiconductors in solar power industry. At the same time, the renewable and alternative energy market has gained an increased demand, especially the solar energy market, which is expanding rapidly. Further, increase in incentives by governments and feed-in tariff policy are creating significant growth opportunity for semiconductor manufacturers in solar PV market.
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Across the globe, energy security has emerged as a critical issue and governments have been prioritizing renewable energy sources such as solar power in order to create a balanced energy portfolio. Recent developments in GaN (gallium nitride) and SiC (silicon carbide) technologies represent an emerging opportunity in solar power market for semiconductor industry players as these technology offer better features such as better power efficiency. Competition from conventional energy sources which are offered at a subsidy across different countries represents a challenge to the growth of solar power market owing to cost issues. This in turn affects the growth of semiconductors for renewable energy including solar PV.
Europe was the leading region for solar power and has seen significant growth in demand for semiconductor products and solutions in order to cater the growing demand for efficient solar power production .The growth of solar power industry in this region is driven by regulatory factors which have mandated reduction in emission and harmful gases and increased reliance on renewable energy. Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing market for solar power driven by growing investment in solar power by countries such as China, Japan and India. This in turn is expected to propel the growth in demand of semiconductor products and solutions over the coming years. North America lead by increasing demand for solar power in the U.S. owing to regulatory pressure and need to create a mixed source of energy is also expected to experience increasing growth in demand for semiconductors in solar PV.
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Key players in this market include Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc. (U.S.), JA Solar Holdings, Co., Ltd. (China), Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Japan), Infineon Technologies AG (Germany), ABB Ltd. (Switzerland), Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (China), Hitachi Power Semiconductor Device Ltd. (Japan), Toshiba Corporation (Japan), STMicroelectronics N.V. (Switzerland), Fuji Electric Co. Ltd. (Japan), Vishay Intertechnology Inc (U.S.), Semikron Inc (Germany), and First Solar, Inc. (U.S.), among others.