The distributed renewable energy (DRE) sector, necessary in a world with millions of people without power, is being held back by a chronic shortage of skilled workers. Indeed, Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) has just 16,000 people working in renewable energy in a region with 600 million un-electrified people, according to the founders of a new campaign aiming to fill this skills gap.
US-headquartered high-efficiency PV module producer SunPower Corp is expecting to sell further assets and increase its loans in 2019 to avert bankruptcy due to looming liquidity issues as the company expects to remain loss making next year, while current net losses in the first nine months of 2018 have reached US$745.3 million.
US government development finance institution Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has committed US$25 million in financing to a fund managed by off-grid solar firm SunFunder, which will provide loans to companies developing off-grid solar products and solutions for Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
Specialist PV manufacturing equipment supplier Amtech Systems is restructuring its solar cell manufacturing equipment business with job losses after China-based customers have pushed-out capacity expansion plans after government cuts were made to downstream solar installation targets as deployments far exceeded goals.
Polysilicon producer REC Silicon expects its FBR (Fluidized bed reactor) polysilicon production to decline 42% in the third quarter of 2018, after recently announcing further cuts in workforce and production at its Moses Lake facility that would operate at only 25% utilisation rates. The company noted that it was evaluating the possible suspension of all of its solar related materials business in the US.