Guest Blog

  • Lightsource

    Germany to be displaced as number one European PV market in 2014

    By Finlay Colville - 22 April 2014, 14:20

    The UK is set to become the largest market for solar PV in Europe during 2014, confirming its status as the hottest market across the region.

  • Hanergy comparison

    First Solar and Hanergy Solar: different strategies but overlapping thin-film dreams

    By Finlay Colville - 31 March 2014, 13:17 | 5

    During the past couple of weeks, two of the leading custodians of thin-film solar PV technology have restated or amended long-term industry plans. Finlay Colville assesses the future for thin-film PV technology

  • Roth & Rau facility

    Meyer Burger de-books US$240 million as timing of new wafer capex remains uncertain

    By Finlay Colville - 20 March 2014, 13:36

    The uptick in solar end-market demand at the end of 2013 has been followed by new wave of PV cell and module capex. The missing part of the equation is spending on new wafer capacity, writes Finlay Colville.

  • Consolidation figures

    Solar PV consolidation: fact or fiction?

    By Finlay Colville - 19 March 2014, 11:55

    Consolidation has been one of the most heavily used words in the PV industry over the past couple of years. But as Finlay Colville writes, whether it has actually happened or not is open to debate.

  • Further upside to the rooftop market is expected to be driven by Lightsource’s recent acquisition of Renewable Resources

    NPD Solarbuzz upgrades UK PV market to 2.5GW in 2014

    By Finlay Colville - 11 March 2014, 12:54

    Following the latest round of downstream channel checks and project pipeline activity in the UK, NPD Solarbuzz is now further upgrading its forecast for the UK PV market in 2014.

  • Solar trade

    Harsh reality of the post Brussels/Beijing anti-dumping agreement

    By Finlay Colville - 10 March 2014, 11:00

    The compromised solution agreed between Brussels and Beijing for the supply of Chinese solar PV components to Europe is approaching its anniversary. Finlay Colville looks at how the deal has panned out.

  • FBR polysilicon technology – promise or hype?

    By Johannes Bernreuter - 07 March 2014, 15:29 | 2

    The recent announcement by US manufacturer REC Silicon that it would establish a new polysilicon plant has highlighted an upcoming trend in the polysilicon industry: the rise of fluidised bed reactor (FBR) technology. Will it live up to expectation, asks Johannes Bernreuter.

  • HelioVolt

    HelioVolt exit from PV manufacturing highlights failed US PV manufacturing strategy

    By Finlay Colville - 25 February 2014, 13:06 | 3

    The news today that HelioVolt – one of the few remaining custodians of US based PV manufacturing – will cease operations is terrible news for the 100-plus employees that have been working hard at HelioVolt to advance PV manufacturing in the US.

  • At the start of 2014, four groupings can be used to understand thin-film activity in the PV industry. Source: NPD Solarbuzz PV Equipment Qua

    Thin-film PV should now be as simple as ABCD

    By Finlay Colville - 11 February 2014, 18:10 | 1

    Recently, we prepared two exclusive blogs for PV-Tech that outlined what PV cell production and technologies looked like at the start of 2014: Can PV technology change before 2015? and What does NPD Solarbuzz’ solar cell rankings for 2013 reveal?

  • Taiwan cell trade figures

    Can the US solar industry afford to shut the door on Taiwan?

    By Finlay Colville - 06 February 2014, 15:00

    Does the US solar industry need Taiwan, more than Taiwan needs the US solar industry? This is perhaps one of the biggest questions to ask as the latest US ITC investigations gain traction. Finlay Colville offers some answers.

  • Solar PV technology changes in production between 2010 and 2013.

    Can PV technology change before 2015?

    By Finlay Colville - 04 February 2014, 12:39 | 1

    Around about this time each year, we have a closer look at the PV technologies that were used to make all the solar panels in 2013 that ended up being shipped through downstream channels.

  • NPD Solarbuzz: Only six of the top 10 solar PV module suppliers of 2013 feature in the top 10 cell production lists.

    What does NPD Solarbuzz’ solar cell rankings for 2013 reveal?

    By Finlay Colville - 29 January 2014, 12:13

    NPD Solarbuzz’s Finlay Colville looks at the top 10 cell producer rankings and asks what it tells us about what’s going on in the upper echelons of PV manufacturing.

  • IHS

    IHS: Why 2014 PV installation forecasts are all likely to be wrong

    By Ash Sharma - 28 January 2014, 10:58 | 1

    Each year forecasts for how much new PV capacity will be added around the world are released. These are subsequently revised, updated, defended and invariably increased. The forecasts for 2014 from various banks and research firms however are quite different. The difference between the high-end and the low-end of expectations is massive – potentially 15GW – or put another way nearly half the amount installed in total the previous year.

  • Hanergy’s plans appear to show the first signs of favouritism in the three-horse CIGS race between the subsidiaries of Solibro, Miasolé and

    Hanergy reveals phase one of its 5GW CIGS expansion plan

    By Finlay Colville - 27 January 2014, 12:45

    Having teased the PV equipment supply chain with its multi billion dollar thin-film CIGS capex plans, Hanergy has now revealed the first part of its plans.

  • Hanergy thin-film plant

    Hanergy bankrolls Apollo Solar to leading PV equipment supplier status for 2013

    By Finlay Colville - 21 January 2014, 10:33

    Apollo Solar – Hanergy’s PV equipment tool maker subsidiary – has become the clear leader for solar PV equipment revenues during 2013, according to new findings in the latest NPD Solarbuzz PV Equipment Quarterly report. Previous leading rank companies of the PV equipment supply sector include Centrotherm, Applied Materials and Meyer Burger.

  • India solar

    India’s solar growing pains

    By Ritesh Pothan - 15 January 2014, 14:37 | 1

    After a mediocre 2013, India’s solar industry failed to get off to the positive start it was hoping for in 2014 when an auction under its national solar programme was delayed by a month. Ritesh Pothan sets out how India can avoid the mistakes of 2013 in 2014 and end this year on a firmer footing.

  • US large-scale

    Top 10 US states offer more than 40GW of solar PV pipeline capacity

    By Michael Barker - 14 January 2014, 12:59

    At the end of 2013 the USA’s top solar states had a non-residential PV pipeline of some 40GW. This means any PV company wanting to play on a global level must have a strategy for the US market, write Michael Barker and Christine Beadle.

  • Chinese PV manufacturing

    Global solar industry landscape may render US ITC findings superfluous

    By Finlay Colville - 09 January 2014, 14:32

    The US International Trade Commission’s latest trade investigation into Chinese PV manufacturers may be setting off some alarm bells, but what is needed is a good dose of global manufacturing reality to calm things down, says Finlay Colville.

  • Module manufacturing

    Top 10 PV module suppliers in 2013

    By Ray Lian - 08 January 2014, 12:21

    Based on existing company guidance and downstream channel checks - and supplemented by various estimates by company through to the end of 2013 - NPD Solarbuzz can now reveal the Top 10 PV module suppliers for 2013.

  • Adapted from the forthcoming NPD Solarbuzz PV Equipment Quarterly report, the attached figure shows the real n-type c-Si trends (based on up

    Boost for made-in-USA advanced PV cell manufacturing

    By Finlay Colville - 30 December 2013, 16:58

    Having rebranded the Nexolon America operations in San Antonio, Texas, as Mission Solar Energy, the long-awaited rebound in US-based c-Si manufacturing has just received a significant boost; something that politicians and legislators in the US have been striving for ever since the high-profile demise of Solyndra.

  • Suntech cell line

    All eyes on Asia as new PV CapEx emerges, but rash spending history tempers optimism

    By Finlay Colville - 18 December 2013, 17:27

    Confidence is slowly returning to the PV manufacturing supply chain, as supply and demand get back in sync. But as the industry contemplates opening up the CapEx floodgates once more, Finlay Colville says it would do well not to forget the last PV gold rush.

  • Soitec modules

    How project bonds can help finance solar’s future

    By Holger Janke - 04 December 2013, 16:06

    With the cost of project finance in some emerging economies proving prohibitive, Holger Janke of solar manufacturer Soitec explains how project bonds could help fill the gap open up new markets.

  • The PV industry is flying high but what business models will work in the future?

    Solar PV in 2013: More diversification than consolidation

    By Finlay Colville - 04 December 2013, 10:27

    Benchmarking companies in the solar PV industry used to be straightforward. Some companies made key materials (polysilicon, wafers, cells, modules or thin-film panels); others bought and sold these locally or through the value chain. Then project developers and installers added inverters and mounting and built the PV systems. Customers typically released cash up-front, owned the systems outright and could then sit back and enjoy a revenue stream linked to a government incentive.

  • Martifer

    Ground-mount UK PV pipeline tops 4GW but planners will decide its fate

    By Finlay Colville - 25 November 2013, 13:41 | 2

    The UK has more than 4GW of PV projects in the pipeline but the majority is at the mercy of local planning authorities.

  • Figure 1: The top-11 Tier 1 Chinese manufacturers have maintained a market share at the 40% level during 2013 and are likely to retain this

    Solar PV module supply to Europe in 2014: Any cause for alarm?

    By Finlay Colville - 19 November 2013, 16:12

    Discussions of high average selling price (ASP) regions (such as Japan) and declining regional end-market pull (Europe) are currently in evidence during the round of Q3 reporting calls from public-listed module suppliers. The market size in Europe now and the pricing levels have become key issues, for Chinese and non-Chinese suppliers alike.

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    This issue of Photovoltaics International, our 23rd, offers key insights into some of the technologies that are ready to move from lab to fab in support of these goals. ISC Konstanz offer a glimpse of what the low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells of the future might look like. On page 35 the institute’s authors give an overview of what they call Konstanz’ “technology zoo”, encompassing their so-called BiSoN, PELICAN and ZEBRA cell concepts, all of which are aimed at increasing energy yield at the lowest possible cost.

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    In the ever-changing global solar markets, cost reduction and measures to increase cell efficiencies are the key tools available to PV manufacturers to create new opportunities and drive your business to the next level. Manufacturing the Solar Future 2013 is the third in the Photovoltaics International PV Production Annual series, delivering the next instalment of in-depth technical manufacturing information on PV production processes designed to help you gain the competitive edge.

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