Carbon to launch French PV manufacturing in autumn 2025 with 500MW pilot plant

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carbon factory render
Carbon plans to commission its gigafactory in “late 2026”. Image: Carbon

French manufacturing startup Carbon plans to launch the first part of its module production facility in autumn 2025, as part of a plan to bring 5GW of cell and 3.5GW of module manufacturing capacity to the European solar sector.

This first part of the facility – dubbed “Carbon one” – will be the first component of the Carbon gigawatt-scale manufacturing plant, and will have an annual production capacity of 500MW of modules. The company’s gigafactory, which will be built in Fos-sur-Mer, on the perimeter of the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille, is set to be Europe’s largest PV manufacturing facility upon its commissioning in late 2026.

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Carbon one will serve as a pilot unit for the company’s long-term plans, and a commercial accelerator for its manufacturing goals, with the pilot plant set to produce one million PV panels per year, and employ 200 people in its construction and operation.

Carbon announced the latest news at the Choose France economic summit, held in Versailles earlier this week. The company unveiled its plans earlier this year, but has already adjusted its timeline; in March, Carbon said its gigafactory would be fully commissioned in 2025, but has now said that the large-scale facility will be in operation by “late 2026”.

PV Tech Premium spoke to the company last year, at which point a spokesperson confirmed that the gigafactory would initially focus on tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) production, but that the company is open to investing in “tandem technologies” in the future. Carbon’s news follows a number of manufacturing announcements in the TOPCon sector, such as Vietnamese firm Boviet Solar building its first such facility in the US, but this is one of few positive developments for the European manufacturing industry.

Earlier this year, Johan Lindahl, secretary general of the European Solar Manufacturing Council (ESMC) told PV Tech Premium that a lack of European-based manufacturing capacity and the oversupply of cheap, Chinese-made products means the sector could be “about to lose the whole European PV manufacturing industry,” raising questions about the long-term health of the European manufacturing sector.

The news also follows calls from French economy minister Bruno Le Maire for PV buyers to “massively resort to ‘Made in France’ panels,” as part of plans to dramatically grow the French PV manufacturing industry. The commissioning of large-scale module manufacturing plants, such as Carbon’s, will be integral to realising this plan.

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Astronergy has introduced its latest module product series, ASTRO N7 and ASTRO N7s, both of which utilise rectangular wafers. ASTRO N7, based on the 210mm*182mm wafer, is specifically tailored for utility-scale systems. It features dimensions of 2382mm*1134mm and a 66-cell layout design that effectively lowers Voc and increases string size. This design feature significantly reduces tracker and cable costs, leading to a reduction in LCOE by 0.44% to 4.37% compared to 182mm-wafer TOPCon modules. Furthermore, ASTRO N7 incorporates advanced cell and module technologies such as laser-induced firing, super multi-busbar, light-redirecting film, and double-layer coating glass to enhance module power output and reliability. Join us to explore the latest advances in module technology and how they can improve module performance and learn about the economic advantage of rectangular-wafer modules and their benefits at a system level.
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PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
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Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.
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The conference will gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing out to 2030 and beyond.

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