With the continuous deterioration of the global environment and the exhaustion of fossil fuel energy, countries around the world are looking for new energy sources suitable for human survival and development. The construction of photovoltaic energy storage projects is an important measure to implement energy transformation. Third-generation semiconductors have the characteristics of high frequency, high power, high voltage resistance, high temperature resistance, and radiation resistance, which can promote highly efficient, highly reliably, and low cost of photovoltaic energy storage inverters and the green and low-carbon development of energy.
SiC will be widely used in high-power string/central inverters, while GaN is more suitable for household micro-inverters
As the photovoltaic industry enters the era of “large components, large inverters, large-span brackets, and large strings,” the voltage level of photovoltaic power plants has increased from 1000V to over 1500V and high-voltage SiC power components will be used extensively in string and centralized inverters. For residential micro-inverters with a power of up to 5kW, GaN power components have more advantages. Not only can they significantly improve overall conversion efficiency, effectively reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE), but also allow users to easily build smaller, lighter, and more reliable inverters.
Key SiC substrates are crucial to the development of third-generation semiconductors and major manufacturers are competing to get to market
SiC substrate is regarded as the core raw material of third-generation semiconductors. Its crystal growth is slow and process technology complex. Mass production is not easy. Conductive substrates can produce SiC power electronic components while semi-insulating substrates can be used for the fabrication of GaN microwave radio frequency components. In addition, due to the high difficulty of substrate preparation, its value is relatively high. The cost of SiC substrate accounts for approximately 50% of the total cost of components which demonstrates its importance in the industrial chain.
At present, the supply of the global SiC market is firmly in the hands of substrate manufacturers. Wolfspeed, II-VI and SiCrystal (subsidiary of ROHM) together account for nearly 90% of shipments. IDM manufacturers such as Infineon, STM, and Onsemi are actively developing upstream SiC substrates and expect to take full advantage of the supply chain to strengthen their competitiveness. Everyone wants to get a piece of the pie, so the battle for SiC substrates will become more and more fierce, but the wait will not be long to see where the industry eventually goes in coming years.
Due to material shortages caused by insufficient semiconductor supply, to date, power management IC (PMIC) prices remain on an upward trend, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Average selling price (ASP) for 1H22 is forecast to increase by nearly 10%, reaching a record six year high.
In terms of the global supply chain, in addition to the production capacity of major IDM manufacturers including TI, Infineon, ADI, STMicroelectronics, NXP, ON Semiconductor, Renesas, Microchip, ROHM (Maxim has been acquired by ADI and Dialog by Renesas), IC design houses such as Qualcomm and MediaTek (MTK) have obtained a certain level of production capacity from foundries. Of these, TI is in a leadership position and the aforementioned companies possess a combined market share of over 80%.
In terms of product structure, unrelenting demand from the consumer electronics, telecommunications, industrial control systems, and automotive end-user sectors and product innovation driven by industrial transformation will push a dramatic increase in global market demand for PMICs. The largest application for PMICs is consumer electronic products and there are near term rumblings in demand for notebooks, Chromebooks, smartphones, and televisions. In addition, restocking impetus for a small number of structurally simple items such as low drop-out regulators (LDO) has encountered a real slowdown. However, since the demand placed on PMICs by electronic products is a structural increase, certain models are still experiencing shortages. Qualcomm and MTK are limited by a shortage of mature production capacity on the foundry end, even resulting in a tightening of inventory for PMICs earmarked for self-use.
Furthermore, recovery in the automotive market and rapid growth in electric vehicles, automotive electronics, and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) have increased demand in power source control and management and charging technology. In addition, automotive-use ICs are required to pass a number of inspections and must guarantee consistency and a zero failure rate. Currently, IDM companies’ automotive IC order backlog stretches until the end of 2022. Due to factors such as production running at full capacity and a shortage of raw materials, PMIC suppliers have currently announced longer lead times with consumer electronic IC lead times increasing to 12~26 weeks, automotive IC lead times reaching 40~52 weeks, and a cessation of orders for certain exclusive production models.
TrendForce expects 4Q21 demand for PMICs to remain strong with shortages in overall production capacity. Led by IDM companies, PMIC pricing will remain high. Despite variables related to the pandemic and the difficulties of greatly increasing 8 inch wafer production capacity, TI’s new fab RFAB2 will begin mass production in 2H22. In addition, due to the plans of foundries to carry forward a portion of 8 inch wafer PMIC manufacturing to 12 inch, there is a high likelihood of a moderation in PMIC shortages. However, close attention must still be paid to changes in future market supply.
For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at email@example.com