Leading integrated high-efficiency monocrystalline module manufacturer and ‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member LONGi Green Energy Technology set a new solar industry R&D expenditure record in 2017, not only surpassing the two historical leaders, First Solar and SunPower, but also spending more in one year than any PV manufacturer to date.
China headquartered PV thin-film equipment and module producer Hanergy Thin Film Power Group (Hanergy TF) has created a completely new business model in 2017 that provides new industrial parks a selection from a portfolio of a-Si, CIGS, GaAs and c-Si heterojunction (HJ) turnkey production lines to provide local governments access to solar technology and attract other hi-tech companies to new industrial parks.
As previously reported there was a significant slowdown in global solar PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcements in the third quarter of 2017, which we highlighted was hardly surprising due to significant level of expansions plans announced in the first half of the year. However, despite increased concerns over the potential imposition of restrictive trade practices in the US and India in the fourth quarter of 2017, there was a significant rebound over the previous quarter, leading to the highest recorded gigawatts of new expansion announcements.
The major manufacturing transition by First Solar to its large-area Series 6 CdTe thin-film module format is well underway and, going by recent management commentary in its fourth quarter 2017 conference call with financial analysts, has increased its tempo slightly, not least due to updated spending plans for the second time in a few months.