18 May 2021
The gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductor market is set to exceed $4.5bn by 2027, driven by growing adoption in all-electric vehicles (EVs), according to a report by Global Market Insights Inc.
Compared with traditional silicon-based power semiconductors, GaN and SiC power semiconductors offer several benefits, such as high-power efficiency, high thermal conductivity and reduced footprint. These high-end features have increasingly led them to be integrated into on-board chargers, electronic control units (ECUs), DC-DC converters and traction inverters in electric vehicles (EVs).
However, the design complexity associated with manufacturing GaN and SiC power semiconductors is one of the major factors restraining market expansion. Deposition of GaN and SiC layers onto the substrate is difficult and requires high-precision manufacturing equipment such as PVD and CVD tools, which are high cost, further increasing the overall manufacturing cost of GaN and SiC power semiconductors. Furthermore, the low cost and simpler design associated with conventional silicon-based power semiconductors will pose a major challenge to market progression during the forecast timeline.
The SiC power module segment held more than 40% market share in 2020 and will see a 35% growth rate through 2027, driven by several features such as high reliability, greater electrical stability and optimized energy consumption compared with discrete GaN and SiC power semiconductors. SiC-based power modules are integrated with dedicated ICs, which helps the overall module to execute self-protection functions such as short circuit, supply under voltage, and over-temperature. These features increase their acceptance for high-power electrical systems such as smart grids and smart energy meters. Market players are focusing extensively on increasing the energy efficiency, achieving low-noise operations, and reducing device footprint.
Increasing usage of industrial motor drives in robotics and automation equipment to propel market
The industrial motor drive segment captured 3% of the market in 2020 and is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 35% through 2027 on account of the increasing adoption of industrial motor drives for robotics and automation equipment in manufacturing and process industries. The manufacturing sector is extensively incorporating industrial robots, automated assembly lines, conveyors, CNC machines etc, which require industrial motor drives. SiC and GaN embedded motor drives deliver high power efficiency and help to drive heavy loads in the starting position in industrial machinery. The proliferation of industrial robots across developed economies will fuel the acceptance of industrial motor drives in the market, it is reckoned.
Expansion of renewable energy sector in US to foster market revenue
The North America GaN and SiC power semiconductor market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 29% through 2027 due to the proliferation of solar power plants in the USA. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association last December, in third-quarter 2020 US solar energy producers accounted for the installation of 3.8GW of solar PV capacity. The country reached a total installed capacity of 88.9GW in 2020. This will increase demand for GaN and SiC power semiconductors in PV converters, inverters, PV modules, generators, and solar battery systems, it is forecasted.