The rapid transition in the upstream manufacturing solar sector to significantly larger p-type and n-type monocrystalline wafers, cells and modules may be hailed as a new era for the industry in higher module performance and a leap in reducing PV power plants LCOE (Levelized Cost of Electricity) in a rapidly changing downstream market that becomes subsidy free, bidding orientated and targeting grid parity and beyond. But issues such as reliability lurk just below the surface.
Major integrated PV module manufacturer, Suntech has started ramping up a 1GW integrated cell and module assembly plant in Indonesia, predominantly to serve the US market that takes its nameplate module assembly capacity above 10GW.
Major polysilicon and merchant cell producer, Tongwei has secured a monocrystalline wafer supply deal from LONGi Green Energy (LONGi Group) that increases its wafer needs by 1 billion wafers to 2.6 billion as the cell producer plans to have more than 40GW of solar cell capacity in 2021.
Major merchant solar cell producer Aiko Solar may have increased first half year revenue 30% compared to the prior year period, but COVID-19 and solar cell average price declines, triggered by weak demand, sent net profits falling by 68% year-on-year.
Coming out of stealth-mode, US-based integrated PV panel manufacturing start-up, Violet Power intends to disrupt the PV industry with in-house production of high-efficiency IBC (Interdigitated Back Contact) solar cells. The company will use cell-to-module ‘flex circuit’ and thermal plastic encapsulant technology in a glass/glass configuration that will have a solar panel warranty of 50 years, more than three times the average in the industry, today.
Major polysilicon and solar wafer producer GCL-Poly has reported a total loss for the first half of 2020 of US$281.8 million, due to a reduction of more than 50% in polysilicon production and record low ASPs (Average Selling Prices) on weak demand.
Leading monocrystalline wafer producer and ‘Solar Module Super League’ (SMSL) member, LONGi Green Energy has defied the downward pricing pressure on its core wafer business and weak global demand, driven by the impact of COVID-19 on the solar industry supply chain to report record revenue, profit, and module shipments in the first half of 2020.
Major polysilicon and solar wafer producer GCL-Poly has warned investors that it expects to make a net loss of at least RMB1.5 billion (US$217 million) for the first half of 2020 as market demand and other issues impacted profitability.
China-based PV module manufacturer ZNShine Solar plans to more than double its manufacturing capacity by 10GW over the next two years, focusing on large-area, high-efficiency modules to improve its competitive position.
‘Solar Module Super League’ (SMSL) member Trina Solar is planning its first major solar cell manufacturing expansion in recent years, driven by its migration to large-area PV modules using the 210mm wafer size as it ramps production of its high-performance mainstream ‘Vertex’ Series modules in 2021 onwards.
Major polysilicon producer Daqo New Energy expects polysilicon demand to outstrip supply for at least the next 18 months, due to the lack of new polysilicon capacity and strong demand as a growing number of ‘Solar Module Super League’ (SMSL) members continue to add in-house monocrystalline ingot and wafer production.
The announcement from Tongwei on 10 August disclosing new cell price rises was a surprise for the whole PV industry. Compared to its previous quote on 24 July, the price of poly cells rose by another 6 USD cents/W, with a further increase of 8 cents/W for 156.75mm, 158.75mm and 166mm mono cells.
Leading ‘Solar Module Super League’ (SMSL) member JinkoSolar has achieved a record large-area N-type monocrystalline silicon solar cell conversion efficiency of 24.79%, independently confirmed by the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hamelin (ISFH), Germany.