During the period 2006 to 2011, equipment spending for solar manufacturing was a really big deal for capital equipment suppliers. Companies such as GT Advanced Technologies (then GT Solar) and Applied Materials (serving thin-film and c-Si expansions alike) were clocking up billion-dollar plus backlogs.
With First Solar’s revenue and shipment guidance unchanged and basically locked-in for 2016, despite solar industry dynamics becoming increasingly fluid, filling demand for 3GW of thin-film module capacity in 2017 has become a priority for management as a rather large hole in bookings is proving difficult to fill.
Capital expenditure (capex) from solar PV manufacturers is set to decline during the first half of 2017, as the industry adjusts to the excess of new capacity having come online during 2015 and 2016, according to the latest findings in the PV Manufacturing & Technology Quarterly report, released July 2016.
After the 630 installation rush, enterprises, industry experts and investors began to think about the next trend for Chinese PV industry. It is predicted by senior staff from an investment company, that 2017’s plant development would be tripartite by the top runners (leading group) projects, distributed systems and poverty alleviating PV programmes.
This year saw Ghana not only install the largest solar project in East and West Africa, but also a major 30MW module manufacturing facility near its capital, Accra, in what is a major milestone for the upstream solar sector across Africa. PV Tech visited the plant to understand some of developer 3SIL's thinking behind location and business.