- Industry Roundup
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Major Taiwan-based solar wafer producer, Green Energy Technology (GET) has reported a sales decline of 10% in March.
China-based polysilicon and wafer producer, Daqo New Energy Corp reported narrowing quarterly losses on improved shipments of polysilicon and wafers in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Samil Power has become the first Chinese inverter manufacturer to register for the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive in the EU.
Guangyu International, based in Hong Kong, has invested US$200 million in Norwegian solar-grade silicon wafer producer, Elkem Solar, for a 50% stake in the company. The company said that the deal had been in the making for some time.
The start of recent bankruptcy proceedings of LDK Solar’s offshore operations has triggered both an agreement with a majority of its bondholders to take a massive haircut on the defaulted bond and the start of de-listing proceedings for its American Depositary Shares and an immediate trading suspension by the NYSE.
China-based wafer manufacturer and operator of Wuxi Suntech, Shunfeng Photovoltaic International, has reported full-year 2013 revenue of approximately US$246.2 million, compared to US$170.5 million in the previous year.
The founder, shareholder and current chairman and CEO of LDK Solar, Xiaofeng Peng is being forced into personal bankruptcy proceedings by Apollo Investment Asia Limited to the tune of US$75.5 million, according to SEC filings made on behalf of the company’s liquidators in the Cayman Islands.
Wet chemicals equipment processing specialist, RENA, has started insolvency proceedings under self-administration as it attempts to restructure after failing to gain a financing solution for debts encountered at a subsidiary, SH+E.
The holding company of polysilicon producer, GCL-Poly, is planning to change the name of the group to GCL New Energy Holdings Limited to better reflect its move into the downstream PV project business and renewable energy in general.
Although the shutdown of its Sichuan Phase I polysilicon production line impacted profitability in 2013, tier one PV manufacturer, ReneSola reported a 142.5% year-on-year increase in PV module shipments, reaching 1,728.8MW with plans to reach 2.5GW in 2014.
As part of the expected IPO of SunEdison’s semiconductor wafer and polysilicon operations into SunEdison Semiconductor Limited (SSL), Samsung Fine Chemicals is planning to purchase US$100 million in shares in the spin-off company in private placement.
Although GCL-Poly has topped the nameplate capacity rankings for polysilicon for several years it has actually produced less polysilicon than nearest rival, Wacker Chemie. However, the China-based producer appears to have sneaked by its German rival for the first time during 2013.
The fifth edition of the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic (ITRPV) released today, continues to emphasise the critical need to reduce material costs from wafers to modules, but also highlights the need for increased cell efficiencies and higher throughput fabrication equipment as material cost reductions get harder to implement.
Wacker Chemie has agreed a minimum pricing deal with China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) that will allow the chemical producer to continue exporting polysilicon made at its plants in Europe to China.
The delay to the US solar trade case could further increase PV prices, which are already on the up due to high demand, according to consultancy firm EnergyTrend.
GCL-Poly reported 2013 annual polysilicon production increased 36% to approximately 50,440MT, retaining nameplate capacity at 65,000MT resulting in utilisation rates above 75% for the year.
Major Taiwan-based solar wafer producer, Green Energy Technology (GET,) increased high-performance wafer prices in February 2014, supporting a revenue decrease of only 3.9% in the shorter working month and Chinese New Year period.
GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) has secured a major US$336 million polysilicon equipment and technology deal with Cosmos Chemicals Berhad as part of plans to build a 25,000MT integrated polysilicon plant in Sarawak, Malaysia.
Major China-based polysilicon and solar wafer producer, GCL-Poly has secured ‘near-term’ supply contracts with Jinko Solar, GD Solar, Tongwei Solar, and Hareon Solar.
Two Taiwan-based solar cell manufacturers, Neo Solar Power (NSP) and Topcell Solar International (TSI) have concluded new short-term wafer supply contracts from GCL-Poly totalling approximately 4GW.
Bernreuter Research has warned that next-generation polysilicon production techniques should not be over-hyped.
Although its major sapphire materials business win with iconic consumer electronics firm, Apple continues to generate headlines, GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) has suggested new order wins for new products for the polysilicon and PV segment in the second-half of the year could be even greater.
The drawn-out period of forbearance agreements between LDK Solar and US bondholders looks over and the heavily indebted PV manufacturer could start insolvency proceedings in the Cayman Islands should bondholders not agree on a settlement.
Production equipment and plant construction firm RENA has pinned its hopes for a successful restructuring process on the expected upturn in the solar industry.
Meyer Burger and CSEM PV Center are establishing the Swiss-Inno HJT Project that will include a pilot line and development program to produce low-cost Heterojunction silicon solar cell technology (HJT).
First Solar’s subsidiary, TetraSun has placed its first order with ACT Aurora Control Technologies for its Decima CD inline measurement system.
Taiwan-based solar wafer producer, Sino-American Silicon (SAS) reported January, 2014 sales of NT$1,834 million (US$60.6 million), down 10.31% in the previous quarter.
In a continued effort to return its Energy and Environmental Solutions (EES) division to breakeven, despite two-years of downsizing and restructuring, Applied Materials said it had reduced EES spending per quarter to US$25 million.
Leading polysilicon and wafer manufacturer GCL-Poly is to become a majority shareholder in consumer electronics firm Same Time.
Major polysilicon producer, REC Silicon, has said polysilicon production in 2014 would be lower than 2013 levels due to outages at its Silane II and IV facilities.
Korea’s largest polysilicon producer, OCI said that it would revive plans to add polysilicon capacity to meet expected future demand.
Polysilicon demand is increasing sharply on the back of expected global end market demand reaching 49GW in 2014, according to NPD Solarbuzz.
SunEdison has said the polysilicon ingot production operations for its semiconductor customers would be consolidated with the full closure of its facilities in Merano, Italy, and the transfer of 200mm diameter ingot production from St. Peters, Missouri to other overseas facilities.
Taiwan-based solar wafer producer, Green Energy Technology (GET) continued to post incremental increases in sales, which have continued for over a year.
Sales in the fourth quarter of 2013 at Dow Corning were boosted by higher polysilicon shipments from subsidiary, Hemlock Semiconductor.
Wacker Chemie reported fourth quarter polysilicon sales of €250 million, up from €235 million in the prior quarter as demand from Asia remained strong.
SolarWorld said in a statement that it had reached an agreement with a long-term “raw material” supplier to restructure supply contracts that would result in impairment charges in the “double-digit million Euro amount.”
SunEdison and the Government of Saudi Arabia are undertaking a feasibility study to establish a fully integrated PV manufacturing complex, including polysilicon production through to PV module assembly at an estimated cost of US$6.4 billion.
Daqo New Energy has completed the de-bottlenecking project at its polysilicon plant in Xinjiang, China, which has started ramping to its expected nameplate capacity of 6,150MT.
Specialist encapsulant supplier, STR Holdings, has said it expects fourth quarter 2013 sales to have slightly exceeded the prior quarter levels, indicating a reversal in its downward sales trajectory after losing First Solar as its major customer at the end of 2012.
The decision to penalise US polysilicon producers with heavy import duties by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) as part of the ongoing trade war has led to both Wacker and OCI grabbing further polysilicon market share in the country.
Major polysilicon producer, Wacker Chemie, said it would benefit from a one-time windfall of around €115 million in the first quarter of 2014 due to the restructuring of a supply contract with an undisclosed solar PV customer.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has agreed to SolarWorld Industries Americas request to investigate anti-dumping (AD) and anti-subsidy ‘loop-hole’ claims over imported PV products including solar cells used in Chinese modules supplied from Taiwan.
LDK Solar said that a recent short extension to talks with bondholders that ended today has been replaced with a new 21-day forbearance arrangement over unpaid interest on a US$280 million bond debt.
Taiwan-based solar wafer producer, Green Energy Technology (GET), plans to raise NT$950 million (US$31.5 million) from a private placement of new shares with a subsidiary of its parent company, Tatung Group.
US-based PV module encapsulant supplier, STR Holdings, is to renovate its leased facility in Suzhou and seek further outsourced manufacturing arrangements with third parties.
US-based PV module encapsulant supplier, STR Holdings has signed a manufacturing agreement with ZheJiang FeiYu Photo-Electrical Science & Technology Co., Ltd.
China Sunergy and the University of New South Wales, Australia (UNSW) are undertaking a five-year R&D programme to significantly improve solar wafer material quality using UNSW’s advanced hydrogenation technology.
According to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, continued strong demand for high-efficiency solar wafers in Asia is pushing wafer ASPs to reach around US$1.0/piece in February, 2014.
UPDATE: An explosion at Mitsubishi Materials Yokkaichi polysilicon plant has resulted in the death of five workers with a further 12 injured, according to reports.