Just when it looked like the underlining trend for Tesla’s shift away from using third party mainstream solar panel suppliers was set in stone, as manufacturing partner Panasonic started ramping Gigafactory 2 production, the latest data for the third quarter of 2018, goes completely in a different direction.
The solar industry gets to grips with the bewildering array of new module technologies at the second edition of the PV ModuleTech event in Penang, Malaysia. The conference raised a huge number of questions such as how to evaluate bifacial technology and whether it might rise faster than predicted, how long p-type multicrystalline has left in the running and the perennial issue of quality, to name a few.
PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcements in the second quarter of 2018, were slightly higher than the previous quarter, although activity slumped specifically in June, after China’s decision to suddenly cap utility-scale and distributed generation (DG) projects (531 New Deal). But large-scale multi-gigawatt production plans in the first half of the year may have hidden an inevitable slowdown, despite the impact on downstream demand from the 531 New Deal.
The solar industry, in terms of deployment, will sadly not be growing by 30% in 2018. However, the good news is that the PV ModuleTech 2018 event – taking place in Penang, Malaysia on 23-24 October 2018 – will see more than 30% growth in the number of companies taking part and the number of attendees on site.
With the multi to mono transition largely a fait accompli in the PV industry, the buzzword for 2019 will certainly be on bifaciality. This has been brewing for some years, but the sheer weight of capacity and production will finally impact on large-scale utility solar in ways most appear to be grossly unprepared for.