PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcements in the first quarter of 2018 continued to follow the strong trend set in the fourth quarter of 2017. The quarter also represented a revival in thin-film expansion plans as well as the return of PV module assembly outpacing solar cell announcements. Also notable was the return of India and the US as major destinations for new capacity plans.
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 ‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member JinkoSolar has highlighted the significance and its capabilities behind setting multiple P-type multicrystalline PERC solar cell efficiency and module output records at PV CellTech 2018 technical conference held in Penang, Malaysia this week.
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.
Inline solar cell measurement equipment specialist Aurora Solar Technologies (AST) is expecting 2018 to be a record year for new orders, as major PV manufacturers continue to migrate and ramp high-efficiency solar cells such as monocrystalline PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell) and bifacial cell technologies.
‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member Trina Solar has set a new record 25.04% conversion efficiency for an N-type monocrystalline IBC (Interdigitated Back Contact) solar cell at its State Key Laboratory (SKL) of PV Science and Technology (PVST) that was independently certified by Japan Electric Safety and Environmental Technology Laboratory (JET).
‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member Trina Solar has said it shipped over 9GW of PV modules globally in 2017, confirming its second place position in PV Tech’s Top-10 Module Suppliers annual rankings.
Leading fully-integrated high-efficiency monocrystalline module manufacturer and ‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member LONGi Green Energy Technology has set a strategic plan to triple monocrystalline ingot and wafer capacity to 45GW in 2020.
Swiss-based solar simulator equipment supplier Alfartec has had its new generation of module tester, BlueSky MT240 certified by China’s 3rd party lab, NIM at a ‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member at a c-Si module manufacturing plant in China.
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.