- Industry Roundup
- Fab & Facilities
- Cell Processing
- Thin Film
- PV Modules
- Power Generation
The latest quarterly edition of the ‘U.S. Solar Market Insight’ report, published by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research, reveals continued strong growth in PV installations in the US. Grid-connected PV installations in the first quarter of 2011 increased 66% compared to the same quarter a year ago to reach 252MW. Cumulative grid-connected PV in the US has now reached over 2.3GW, according to the report. PV module production also increased in the US, growing by 17% relative to the fourth quarter of 2010, and up from 297MW to 348MW.
A PV power plant project, planned and built by Gehrlicher Solar, is using thin-film modules from GE. The 1MW plant is under construction in Aschheim, Germany and was touted as the first of many such projects the companies are partnering on. GE uses CdTe (cadmium telluride) modules originally developed by PrimeStar, which was acquired by GE.
First Solar has reached its next manufacturing milestone, producing 4GW of thin-film photovoltaic modules since the company began commercial production in 2002. Adding to this target, the company has also announced that its second factory at Frankfurt (Oder), near Brandenburg in Germany has begun producing solar modules, one month ahead of schedule. The four new production lines at the new facility are still expected to ramp to full production during the third quarter of 2011…
Despite changes expected to the UK feed-in tariff that would make large-scale projects uneconomical, while retaining incentives for the residential rooftop market, First Solar has gained Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certification for its CdTe thin-film modules.The MCS accreditation applies to First Solar’s Series 3 modules FS-370 to FS-385.
Already in evaluation as a substrate for thin film amorphous silicon (a-Si) modules and copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) applications, DuPont’s colourless polyimide film, ‘Kapton’ is also being developed for cadmium telluride (CdTe) applications that open-up new markets for the technology in the fields of lightweight, flexible and high-efficiency applications. Currently, the flexible thin-film market is dominated by a-Si and CIGS-based technologies.
A cloud that had been hanging over thin-film PV manufacturers that use cadmium in the fabrication of solar modules has been lifted with the European Union exempting the hazardous substance from a ban due to the EU’s renewable energy targets.
(Updated) First Solar saw its net sales revenues decline in the second quarter, citing as reasons the allocation of modules to its systems projects in order to meet project contractual deadlines, seven fewer production days during the period, and the full-quarter impact of the pricing changes started in December. The Q1 revenues reached $567 million, which was a decrease of $42.5 million from the fourth quarter of 2010 and just about even with Q1 2010’s $568 million, because of lower ASPs. Conversion efficiencies and production line run rates both increased, although manufacturing costs per watt were flat.
Energy firm, Constellation Energy is to acquire ground-mounted PV power plants at multiple sites being built by Belectric in Sacramento, California. The projects, which are expected to be commercially operational by the end of 2011, will use 81,000 First Solar CdTe thin-film modules, totals 30MW (DC) of solar generation. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Abound Solar has entered into new partnership and distributing deals with two of its preferred European system integrators: DW Europe and Thesan. Abound and DW Europe, an Italian commercial solar and BIPV system integrator, will collaborate to bring Abound’s next-generation thin-film modules to commercial sized projects in the Mediterranean.
Phoenix Solar has signed a deal to construct a 12MW turnkey solar park in Le Castellet, France for the joint venture formed between InfraClass Energie 5, a close-end fund of KGAL, and CRYO SARL . Set to be built over almost 62 acres in southern France, this solar project is Phoenix Solar’s largest installation outside of Germany to date.