PV Tech reached its own little milestone of having reported and analysed the R&D spending habits of the same 12 key PV module manufacturers for 10 years. The results have just been published in sister technical journal Photovoltaics International as part of the annual leaders and laggards of R&D spending for 2016.
The significance of PV-Tech’s forthcoming conference in Kuala Lumpur – PV ModuleTech 2017 – has just moved to a new level, with the key company executives from all members of the Silicon Module Super League (SMSL) giving presentations on stage about the quality, reliability, and performance of their solar modules.
Once upon a time, it was relatively easy to verify a PV module manufacturer’s shipment claims and therefore any market share gains or shipment milestone claims as the majority of leading companies were public listed entities.
Updated: With the solar industry transitioning to high-performance products backed with innovation, Solar Power International 2017 in Las Vegas is showcasing an ever increasing portfolio of solar modules exceeding 300 watts in the standard 60-cell format. However, 72-cell modules exceeding 360 watts are also entering the mainstream and 400 watts is just around the corner.
Driving the high-performance wave is PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell), bifacial and the migration to 5 busbars and beyond, whether with multicrystalline or monocrystalline wafers. The growing use of half-cut and multi-cut cells that reduce cell to module losses, boosting overall performance are also becoming mainstream as well as heterojunction (HJ) modules.
The use of third-party cell and module sourcing has seen a massive uptick in the solar industry, during the past 2-3 years.
The appetite of leading global module suppliers to rely on outsourced cells and modules has been clear to see in the past 12-18 months, but tends to go through almost quarterly tactical adjustments, often driven by factors that are potentially creating risk for long-term downstream asset holders of utility-scale sites.
The solar industry is set to reach annual demand at the 100GW level much earlier than has been forecast by both third-party observers and the leading component suppliers. During 2018, the solar industry is shaping up to ship more than 100GW of solar modules during the calendar year, while 2017 alone will see the number exceed 90GW comfortably.
‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member Hanwha Q CELLS has signed an MOU with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) to build an 80MW rotating floating solar project on a reservoir in South Korea, which would be the largest of its type in the world.
SolarWorld Americas the subsidiary of bankrupt integrated PV module manufacturer SolarWorld AG said it would receive a US$6 million cash infusion from its parent company’s financial lenders to continue reduced operations after recent workforce reductions and support its co-petition with bankrupt US rival Suniva in the ITC ‘Section 201’ case.
India installed 5.5GW of utility-scale solar capacity in the last fiscal year and the country is expected to add another 8GW in the coming year, according to consultancy firm Bridge to India’s ‘India Solar Map’.
In its tenth year of organisation, the Intersolar AWARD proceedings reflected a niche but high-profile sector of the downstream PV industry, floating solar. The coveted prize in the ‘Photovoltaics’ category went to project developer Ciel & Terre International, regarded as a pioneer of floating solar with around 43 projects completed.
Despite the major exhibition having a European tag, Intersolar Europe remains one of the most ‘international’ solar trade shows on the event calendar. As a result, new products launched at this show predominantly reflect trends and developments across multiple markets. On the first day of the exhibition, several new products stand-out for attention. More Day 1 updates are to follow.
‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member Hanwha Q CELLS said its key strategic focus was to diversify its regional and market segment sales in 2017, while reiterating full-year PV module shipment guidance to be in the range of 5.5GW to 5.7GW in 2017.