Mark Osborne has nearly three decades of experience in covering both the semiconductor and photovoltaics manufacturing industries. In his current roles as senior news editor for PV Tech and sister technical journal, Photovoltaics International, Mark covers the key developments in the PV industry on a global level and continues to provide insight and analysis via his editor's blog.
Vertically integrated PV power plant developers such as First Solar and SunPower are losing ground to dedicated PV tracker firms, according to the latest analysis from IHS Markit.
REC Group has introduced an all-black variant of its ‘TwinPeak 2’ Series PV module for US and European residential markets. The REC TwinPeak 2 BLK2 Series has a nominal power rating of up to 285Wp, using its half-cut cell and PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell) technology and uniformly black-colored multicrystalline cells.
Solar wafer and module manufacturer ReneSola reported higher shipments than expected in the fourth quarter of 2016 but gross margin collapsed to 2.1%, well below guidance, while losses increased to US$25.5 million.
Sharp is making available its NQ-R256A (256W) monocrystalline PV module to the European market, which incorporates back contact cell technology for efficiencies of 19.8%. The 48-cell configuration has proved popular in Japan and can maximize rooftop area, compared to conventional 60-cell configured modules.
Fraunhofer ISE has surpassed its record solar cell conversion efficiency for an III-V/Si multi-junction solar cell it set in November, 2016.
Polysilicon start-up Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec) has finally started production at its plant in Qatar.
‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member Hanwha Q CELLS may have reported record PV module shipments and revenue for 2016 but the underlying strategy for 2017 is cash preservation after its gross profit and margins collapsed in the fourth quarter of 2016.
JinkoSolar has introduced the Eagle MX solar panel, its next generation smart module for the high-volume mainstream PV panel market that incorporates a new innovative cell-string optimizer technology.
Diversified renewable energy firm Shunfeng International Clean Energy (SFCE) had previously warned that it expected to report a loss in 2016 of around US$133 million (RMB 923 million) due to a catalogue of issues but revised analysis by the company put the figure significantly higher at around US$348 million.
Many key PV manufacturers in Taiwan are still reporting monthly sales in February, 2017 that are well below the levels set in the first half of 2016, due primarily to the expected boom in China’s downstream PV market, which has yet to take hold.
‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member Hanwha Q CELLS is allocating only US$50 million to capital expenditures in 2017, indicating there would be no new in-house capacity expansions in 2017.
NEXTracker, a Flex company, has launched a solar plus energy-storage solution for US and international markets. ‘NX Fusion Plus’ integrates the latest, in solar tracker design, battery, inverter, and software to deliver better return on investment to owners of solar power plants.
Leading PV manufacturing equipment supplier Meyer Burger reported a significant increase in revenue in 2016, due to the start of major technology upgrade and capacity expansion cycle by PV manufacturers primarily in the ingot/wafer and solar cell upstream segments.