- Industry Roundup
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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.
Specialist materials market research firm, Bernreuter Research expects polysilicon prices to rise in the first half of 2014 but end the year below the low levels set at the end of 2013.
Taiwan-based specialist solar wafer producer, Green Energy Technology (GET), has said that continued strong sales would lead to capacity expansion as utilisation rates are set to remain at 95% in the first quarter of 2014.
Chile’s Environmental Assessment Service (SEA) has given the green light to the 92MW Gramadal PV power plant project proposed by US PV developer SunEdison.
Polysilicon spot prices are expected to test the US$20/kg mark for the first time in over two years in January, 2014, according to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce based in Taiwan.
LDK Solar has provided bondholders with a long-range forecast of its financial recovery over the next five years but expects investors to take a massive haircut or ultimately face a complete loss on the investment.
The Chinese government has excluded almost 80% of operating manufacturers, including Shunfeng and LDK Solar, from benefitting from domestic support measures as it looks to curb oversupply and increase the quality of its manufacturing solar sector.
Editor and guest blogs have continued to be a major attraction to the vast number of readers of PV Tech’s website. Based on traffic data provided by Google Analytics we are once again sharing the top 10 most read blogs from this year, itself a popular read in past years.
Crystal-growing equipment specialist, PVA TePla, has lowered its sales forecast for the year after experiencing a delay in a PV equipment order processing.
Meyer Burger has said its new order intake doubled in the second half of 2013 as orders from the PV industry started to recover.
Long-term quality assurance testing at Sharp Corporation on DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions backsheet and metallisation pastes have been concluded with the materials passing stringent tests.
With plans to double polysilicon production by the end of 2014, China-based Daqo New Energy has secured its first contract for supply starting in 2015 for its expanded capacity.
Following a trade dispute and ruling by the WTO, Ontario has scrapped its domestic content requirement for wind and solar projects.
An existing customer of Meyer Burger based in Asia has placed orders with the company worth CHF15 million (US$16.8 million). The delivery is expected to be completed in the first quarter 2014.
Specialist US-based solar wafer producer, 1366 Technologies has received a further US$2.5 million in Series C financing bringing the round to a total of US$17.5 million.
Wafer production equipment from Conergy’s integrated module manufacturing plant in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany is being sold in an online auction.
Thin-film module manufacturer Solar Frontier claims to have broken the world record for CZTS cell efficiency, reaching 12.6%.