PV Tech’s top ten stories of the year, 2021

By PV Tech
The Techren solar project in Nevada. Image: Nextracker.

In a somewhat turbulent, but always interesting year for solar PV, we’ve seen supply chain volatility and subsequent pricing concerns, a burgeoning technology arms race and a new regime in the US shake off the shackles of the four years prior.

Here, PV Tech runs down its top ten stories of the past 12 months.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

10 – Heterojunction prepares to replace p-mono PERC as mainstream PV offering from 2023

15 March 2021: During the past few years, the PV industry has shifted almost exclusively to p-mono PERC modules (mono-facial and bifacial). During 2021, more than 90% of shipped modules will be based on the same technology (mono PERC), setting up the industry to finally make the move from p-type to n-type from 2023 onwards. Finlay Colville writes.

9 – As PV module prices break through the US$0.30c/W barrier, how are production and procurement adapting?

11 October 2021: Before and after China’s National Day holiday in October, two things that have affected the PV module supply chain continued to bubble up. One was the rising price of raw and auxiliary materials caused by upstream power rationing, and the other is the fact that some downstream installers and local channel merchants have now simply given up resisting price increases and began to stockpile. Carrie Xiao reports.

8 – Ford selects Sunrun as installation partner to make new F-150 Lightning backup power source

20 May 2021: Leading US residential solar and storage provider Sunrun has partnered with automaker Ford as the installer of home charging systems for its F-150 Lightning truck.

7 – How Texas solar helped meet winter storm challenges, and could go even further

18 February 2021: The generational winter storm which affected large parts of the US, but most prominently Texas, has drawn attention to power supply, grid operator ERCOT and the role renewables has, or evidently has not, played in causing widespread blackouts. Liam Stoker reports.

6 – 10-year solar ITC extension, standalone storage credit and PTC revival included in draft budget bill

13 September 2021: The US House of Representatives has finally unveiled proposals which would extend the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for 10 years at 30%, but only for projects meeting certain labour conditions.

5 – Solar industry nears ‘crisis’ amidst material shortages

19 April 2021: Solar manufacturing material shortages are nearing a crisis point with the price of polysilicon continuing to rise, JinkoSolar’s Dany Qian has said. The price of polysilicon has risen steadily over the course of the last year, prices rising initially due to factory shutdowns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but latterly due to a surge in demand.

4 – Solar manufacturing majors call on customers to delay projects amidst supply ‘crisis’

30 September 2021: Five of the solar industry’s leading module manufacturers have issued a joint statement warning of an impending “crisis” regarding module supplies, imploring developers to consider delaying projects and calling for greater collaboration between upstream and downstream players.

3 – New US Energy Secretary shakes up DOE, calls for ‘hundreds of gigawatts’ of new clean energy

4 March 2021: The US will need “hundreds of gigawatts” of carbon-free energy installed within the next four years to meet its climate targets, new Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm has said.

2 – Solar module failure rates continue to rise as record number of manufacturers recognised in PVEL Module Reliability Scorecard

26 May 2021: A total of 117 modules from 26 manufacturers have received ‘Top Performer’ status within PV Evolution Labs’ (PVEL) 2021 Module Reliability Scorecard, however the report has also highlighted an increase in failure rates within the industry.

1 – Built solar assets are ‘chronically underperforming’ and modules degrading faster than expected, research finds

8 June 2021: Solar asset underperformance continues to worsen, with projects “chronically underperforming” P99 estimates and modules degrading faster than previously anticipated, risk management firm kWh Analytics has found.

27 June 2024
9am BST
FREE WEBINAR -This special webinar will take a deep dive into the latest PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings pyramid, capturing the relative bankability status of the top 70-80 PV module suppliers globally. In addition to revealing the latest ranking of global PV module suppliers, PV Tech’s Head of Research, Finlay Colville, will show the depth of analysis and commentary included within the report for module suppliers. A key output from the webinar will be to learn which PV module suppliers have moved up the rankings pyramid in recent years and why this growth has been achieved. Conversely, some of the companies that have fallen down the rankings will be discussed, in particular those suffering from market-share losses and financial problems.
17 June 2025
Napa, USA
PV Tech has been running PV ModuleTech Conferences since 2017. PV ModuleTech USA, on 17-18 June 2025, will be our fourth PV ModulelTech conference dedicated to the U.S. utility scale solar sector. The event will gather the key stakeholders from solar developers, solar asset owners and investors, PV manufacturing, policy-making and and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out the PV module supply channels to the U.S. out to 2026 and beyond.

Read Next

June 19, 2024
A leading German solar distributor has predicted “crazy” ongoing pricing pressures in Europe as the PV industry continues to face huge product oversupply and competition prompted by the easing of the recent energy crisis in Europe.
June 19, 2024
Global Solar Council offers policy recommendations to increase the installed solar capacity and address barriers slowing its deployment.
June 11, 2024
US insurer kWh Analytics has released its latest Solar Risk Assessment report, which explores how extreme weather is affecting solar farms.
June 5, 2024
A record of 53 manufacturers and 388 module types have been named “Top Performers” by Kiwa PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) in its 2024 Module Reliability Scorecard.
June 3, 2024
Polysilicon prices have stabilised but remain low, with average n-type prices dropping further, according to the latest industry data.
May 21, 2024
The ISO has granted DMEGC Solar its ISO 14067 certification, to hold it to high standards of carbon footprint reporting.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
July 2, 2024
Athens, Greece
Solar Media Events
July 9, 2024
Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia