When we established the Silicon Module Super League (SMSL) a few years ago, it was prompted by the realisation that a select group of solar PV module suppliers were moving away from the 100+ chasing pack, and firmly establishing themselves as the companies that would be the dominant players as the industry moved towards and above annual shipment levels of 100GW.
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 Tech caught up with Lou Trippel, vice president of Product Management at US-based thin-film solar manufacturer and developer First Solar, to discuss how the company’s new Series 6 module has been received, sustainability gains from the transition and even the firm’s consideration of recycling capabilities beyond its thin-film remit.
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.