In 2014 the global market for power electronics was worth $10.6 billion. The controlled power electronics segment reached almost $6.6 billion in that year and should increase to $7 billion in 2015. Market research shows that the segment should reach approximately $10.1 billion in 2019, revealing a CAGR of 7.4% from 2014 to 2019. Silicon will remain predominant with an 87% share, but new SiC and GaN technologies will be the fastest-growing – at 30% and 32% annual rates respectively, says Lux Research.
Power electronics is an enabling technology. It is the basis of many complex systems, determining their efficiency in an increasingly competitive industry. The power electronicsindustry in fact is primarily focused on identifying new materials that will satisfy user demand for superior performance, at the least incremental pricing. Silicon, a material that has been at the centre of power electronics, is now becoming inadequate to further the evolution of products in line with consumer demand. Consumer electronics and IT will account for 48% of the market by 2024. Stakeholders are therefore searching for alternative and innovative materials to meet the demands of the power electronics industry. Compound semiconductors so far seem to provide an effective solution for the advancement of power electronics. In fact, their wide-bandgap characteristics make for superior thermal management on one hand, and better frequency response on the other. This results in more efficient, smaller and cheaper power electronics.
The drive of the power electronics market so far has been the increase of power electronics in utility applications, which was previously hindered by the high cost of power electronics devices and the need for energy conservation. The challenge which the market is facing today breaks down to a gradual introduction of new materials and related processes without greatly upsetting the status quo.