$26 billion by 2026: power electronics for greener world

29th November 2021
Tom Anstee

The power semiconductor industry increases production capacity to support the market’s rapid rise.

The power electronics market will reach an impressive US$26 billion by 2026”, asserts Ana Villamor, Ph.D., Team Lead Analyst for power electronics activities at Yole Développement (Yole)“The increase will be pushed across various axes, such as power electronics systems, new applications, and the use of discretes versus modules in power systems.”

Yole and System Plus Consulting have been following the power electronics industry for some time. Step by step, they have developed dedicated expertise in this domain, identifying the latest innovations and analyzing the market trends and companies’ strategies. The two companies are releasing two key analyses to highlight the status of the power electronics industry, especially following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: Status of the Power Electronics Industry and Discrete Power Device Packaging Comparison.

Status of the Power Electronics Industry is one of the power electronic offered by the market research & strategy consulting company, Yole. This year, the company provides a comprehensive description of the market with a particular focus on the impact of COVID-19, the supply chain reorganisation, and the chip shortage. This report also delivers a special report on the current increases in manufacturing capacity - including 200 and 300mm wafer - and analyses the evolution of the business models: IDM versus Foundry. Furthermore, the global supply chains and a feature on regional issues - China, the US, Japan, Europe, and Korea are well detailed in this 2021 edition - driven by moves to in-house manufacturing to ensure a robust supply chain. Indeed, Yole’s analysts identified the growing competence in power electronic device manufacturing and China’s efforts toward Made-in-China power electronics. So, what will the future look like?

It is a fact that more electronic systems are required to meet the massive demand from end systems, specifically the need to increase efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. More green energy generation, more green cars, more charging stations, more energy storage, more industrial carbon-neutral goals. And 2026 is definitely not the end of this growing demand.

“Looking closely at the different power electronics component types, three essential items must be considered,” explains Ana Villamor from Yole. “Indeed, it is crucial to follow the low-power market segment with MOSFETs. In parallel, IGBT modules are key for EV and industrial applications. Ultimately, at Yole, we investigated in depth the SiC technologies for MOSFET discretes and modules for EV applications”.

The low-power market, ruled by silicon MOSFET components, will continue growing at 3.8% CAGR2020-2026. This segment is pushed by consumer electronics, automotive auxiliary systems, and small power industrial applications. Consumer applications account for a significant portion of the Si MOSFET demand. GaN will grab a share of the silicon MOSFET market, mainly for fast chargers for consumer electronics. Automotive auxiliary systems are also worth a closer look as there is an enormous increase in small auxiliary systems in the car.

System Plus Consulting deeply investigated this market segment and today provides a significant comparative analysis of a selection of discrete power devices at the packaging level with its new reverse engineering and costing report: Discrete Power Device Packaging Comparison. It presents an overview of 29 state-of-the-art discrete power device packages from Infineon Technologies, STMicroelectronics, ROHM, onsemi, Toshiba, Vishay, Microchip, Nexperia, Littelfuse, Taiwan Semi, Texas Instruments, and Nuvoton.

The 29 devices, including 14 automotive-qualified AEC-Q101 MOSFETs, 26 Si MOSFETs, 2 Si Superjunctions, and one SiC MOSFET, cover nine voltage classes from 12V to 1200V. This report highlights the technology choices made by electronics companies, with technology parameters and design and their impact on production cost.

In parallel, IGBT modules also show significant growth with an expected 7.8% CAGR during the same period. Those power electronics components are pushed by EV and industrial applications. However, as Yole’s power electronics report shows, there is also a market for other applications, such as PV , wind, and BESS.

Last but not least, Yole’s analysts point out the significant infatuation of the market for SiC technologies. There is substantial penetration of SiC MOSFET discretes and modules into EV applications, states Yole in the report. This evolution will clearly contribute largely to the US$2.6 billion SiC MOSFET market expected by 2026. EV and its standards are also pushing for an enormous increase in the power module packaging market.

The power devices market is dominated by discretes. But the power module share will clearly increase in the coming years.

Amine Allouche, Technology & Cost Analyst, Power Electronics, at System Plus Consulting, asserts: “Several key aspects drive the discrete devices’ industry: a wide selection of products and suppliers, the use of standardized products and technologies and lower cost per device. However, to succeed in the innovation and efficiency race, manufacturers should not rely on the semiconductor aspect only. In fact, when chasing the optimum configuration for electrical, thermal, and mechanical performance, they must battle with the reliability and cost of packaging. Those parameters are indeed very important. More than a simple “shell”, the packaging can make or break a design, and thus should be adapted to and complement the specific dies and not degrade their properties.”

Different application trends work in favor of both discretes and modules, leading to good market growth for both these device segments: IGBT and SiC power modules are largely used in applications such as EV, wind turbines, PV, BESS, and DC chargers for EV, driven mainly by the trend towards higher system power. On the other hand, discrete power components are mainly used in low power applications, such as low-power motor drives, PV microinverters, and residential string PV inverters, automotive auxiliary systems, DC-DC converters, and onboard chargers in EVs, and so on.

Milan Rosina, Ph.D., Principal Analyst, Power Electronics and Batteries, at Yole, concludes: “As a rule of thumb, the systems below about 30 to 50 kW are built on discrete devices, while higher power systems are based on power modules. But the situation is more complex...”

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