Canada-based specialty metals firm, 5N Plus said it had secured a series of multi-year contracts for the supply of semiconductor materials (CdTe) and ancillary services deal with leading CdTe thin-film PV module manufacturer, First Solar.
Leading CdTe thin-film PV manufacturer First Solar may be benefiting from increased demand for its modules from utility-scale customers in the US, which has resulted in the announcement of a new 1.2GW Series 6 module production plant, yet bookings in Europe are fast approaching 1GW.
The revival of European thin-film manufacturing equipment suppliers in 2017 proved to be remarkable and more importantly is expected to continue through 2018 as the solar industry works through a wave of new orders, primarily from China, Malaysia and Vietnam.
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.
Leading CdTe thin-film module manufacturer First Solar is increasing its shipment guidance for 2018, due to plans to bring back online 180MW of mothballed Series 4 module capacity at its Perrysburg, Ohio manufacturing facility.
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.
Leading thin-film manufacturer First Solar highlighted at its 2017 Analyst Day event that it had recently fabricated the first functional CdTe Series 6 thin-film panel at its Perrysburg, Ohio plant, which is spearheading the transition to the larger format at all of the company’s manufacturing plants based in Malaysia and Vietnam.
Leading thin-film manufacturer First Solar said at its 2017 Analyst Day event that it was already building its second CdTe module plant in Vietnam to support the transition to its Series 6 large format panel.
Documents filed by US-headquartered high-efficiency PV cell and module producer SunPower Corp to the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in respect to the ‘Section 201’ trade case show that SunPower wants thin-film modules made by First Solar included in any remedy actions, while pitching for its IBC (Interdigitated back contact) cells and modules to be excluded.