- Industry Roundup
- Fab & Facilities
- Cell Processing
- Thin Film
- PV Modules
- Power Generation
Siliken, a developer and manufacturer of PV products with headquarters in Spain, has started consolidate its production and business units as well as its R&D and innovation activities as part of a global restructuring plan designed to improve the company’s competitiveness and strengthen its product offerings.
As part of its two-pronged strategy to expand its sales channels on a regional and customer basis, tier 1 PV module manufacturer, Trina Solar is establishing its main operations for Latin America in the capital city of Chile, Santiago. The company said it would be servicing commercial, utility and off-grid customers throughout the continent with a focus on Chile, Mexico, Brazil and neighbouring countries.
To overcome the threat of duties being imposed on Chinese imported cells and modules into the EU and a concerted effort to expand sales in North America, China Sunergy said it was planning cell and module manufacturing operation in both regions. Management highlighted the move in a conference call to discuss second quarter results. China Sunergy reported a loss of US$30.3 million, a negative margin of 27.4% on revenue of US$110.4 million, up 61.2% over the first quarter of 2012 on increased demand from key markets, Germany and Italy.
On August 23, workers from Siliken’s centre in Rafelbunyol, Valencia, Spain, are today protesting after the solar company presented an ERE (Expediente de Regulación de Empleo) — a Spanish administrative redundancy procedure which employers must comply with — to 100 employees, the CCOO Industry Federation has revealed.
Looking for a way to further stamp its mark in one of South East Asia’s growing solar markets, First Solar has established a subsidiary in Thailand called First Solar (Thailand). The company has also set up an office in the country’s capital city Bangkok.
To avoid further drains on its battered balance-sheet, REC said it would start winding-up REC Wafer Norway via bankruptcy proceedings. The solar wafer operations at two sites in Glomfjord and at Herøya have already been permanently closed down. The bankruptcy of REC Wafer Norway was said to not have an effect on REC Solar and REC Silicon operations, which continue to operate as normal.
Should further confirmation be needed in relation to the collapse in the PV equipment market, then Spire Corporation’s second-quarter financial results should suffice. The company posted revenue of US$6.6 million, down 52% from US$13.9 million for the same quarter of 2011. The company posted a net loss of US$1.8 million, compared with a net income of US$0.7 million for the same period a year ago.
On the back of the introduction of attractive feed-in-tariffs in the Japanese market in July 2012, JA Solar has announced that it has established an office in Tokyo, Japan, in order to provide marketing and sales support as well as technical support services to its Japan-based customers.
Tough times across Sharp Corporation’s electronics sectors filtered down into its solar manufacturing arm in its first quarter sales for the current financial year. Overall, Sharp posted quarterly losses of ¥138.4 billion (US$1.76 billion) on net sales of ¥458.6 billion. Sales within its solar cells segment were down 18.2%, compared to the same period in the previous year at ¥41.9 billion (US$534 million), generating an operating loss of ¥6.9 billion (US$57.5 million).
It appears the waivered salary of 2011 from Frank Asbeck, CEO for SolarWorld, was not wasted. The company has invested a total of US$27million to upgrade and replace several factory systems at its Hillsboro, Oregan, US plant. This particular facility was considered to be one of the ‘last plants standing’ in September 2011 because production lines were shuttered in Germany and throughout the US. The Hillsboro location also houses a demonstration park to debut technological advances, it hopes will boost the power output of its high-performance solar panels. The new initiatives push SolarWorld’s total capital investment in Hillsboro to more than US$600 million.
Dow Chemical Company’s plans for expansion, announced last year, have come to fruition with the production of its Enlight Polyolefin Encapsulant Films for use in PV solar panels in Thailand. Having commenced production in Ohio, US, in 2010, the company is also constructing a third manufacturing site for this film in Schkopau, Germany.
Sustained operational losses due to weak demand in core end-markets and continued aggressive price declines of conventional crystalline silicon modules has forced Schüco International to exit the thin-film PV market. The German-based PV manufacturer will close both its production facilities over the next few months as well as close its R&D facility by year-end with the loss of approximately 270 jobs.
A next-generation roll-to-roll CIGS thin-film firm, Solarion AG has started production at its first plant in a new industrial park in Zwenkau-Sued near Leipzig, Germany. Primarily planning to target the difficult BIPV and commercial rooftop markets, the company is claiming an initial 10% cell efficiency and a 20MW annual capacity.
SolarCity is continuing its upward spiral. At the beginning of this week, the company announced its partnership with Credit Suisse on a second round of investment. SolarCity has now opened an expanded operations centre in Beltsville, US. The company is ensuring new jobs in Maryland and to give the state’s homeowners, businesses and non-profit organizations better energy options that can cost less than their utility bills. Attendees at today’s grand opening included US senator Ben Cardin, as well as state senator Jim Rosapepe and state delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk.
Emcore and Camstar Systems announced that Emcore will be replacing various legacy manufacturing systems with the Camstar Enterprise platform. The changes will be incorporated into different systems, including the manufacturing execution (MES), quality management and statistical process control (SPC). The solution aims to simplify the system complexities essential to running Emcore’s wafer and cell processing and assembly, test and panel manufacturing.