PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcement plans and analysis for 1H 2016

By Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor, Photovoltaics International ABSTRACT In

In this quarterly report of global PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcements in the first half of 2016, key analysis is given on the continued high level of activity through the second quarter of the year. This report also includes a new bottom-up analysis of ‘effective’ capacity expansions since the beginning of 2014 to provide a better and more accurate assessment of the current manufacturing environment.

How facilities can affect energy consumption in PV cell production

By Martin Schottler, AVEREM; Mariska de Wild-Scholten, SmartGreenScans

The production toolset is not the only significant source of power consumption in PV cell production. Cooling water, climatization, pressurized air and, in some cases, clean-room conditions drive up the electrical energy demand, while geographical location also has an influence. The extent of this additional consumption over and above the toolset is demonstrated by a number of quantitative examples in this paper.

Full-year 2015 PV manufacturing capacity expansion plans and analysis

By Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor, Solar Media

In this quarterly report a full analysis is given for the first time of two years’ worth (2014-15) of PV manufacturers’ capacity expansion announcements as well as an assessment of announcements that have or are planned to convert to effective new nameplate capacity through to the end of 2016. The analysis provides the first insight into new capacity ramp profiles of effective capacity expansions over the last two-year period and highlights future ramp profiles expected through to the end of 2016.

Quarterly analysis of PV manufacturing capacity expansion plans

By Mark Osborne, Senior news editor, Photovoltaics International

This report focuses on expansion announcements in the third quarter of 2015, which was expected to be the low point in new capacity expansion announcements. Momentum seen during the first half of the year, however, carried through, and so a full nine-month analysis is also provided, to further characterize developments in 2015.

Smarter supply chains for a brighter solar future

By Jen Tan, VP of APAC Sales and Energy Solutions (and former Global Planning and Logistics VP); Agnieszka Schulze, Global PR Manager, REC, Singapore

As other entrants in the solar industry scramble to build greater efficiencies into their supply chain, the leading companies focus on manufacturing strengths such as zero-defect quality along the entire supply chain. When it comes to supply chain excellence, the solar industry as a whole is playing catch-up. However, there are players who have already made substantial progress here, having already adopted ‘lean’ practices to eliminate inefficiencies at source. REC, the largest European brand of solar panels and a world leader in the industry, is maintaining its strong position. The company’s practices and principles are explained in detail in this paper.

Quarterly analysis of PV manufacturing capacity expansion plans: 1H 2015

By Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor, Photovoltaics International

In this quarterly report we will provide full first-half 2015 analysis that shows a massive shift in the geographical location of planned production plants, as well as details on key capacity announcements in the months of May and June. The analysis of April’s capacity announcements were reported in the previous quarterly report. Despite April announcements being so low, May proved to be a blockbuster month. The return of meaningful solar cell capacity plans reiterates the strength in the recovery and the first attempts for many years by leading PV manufacturers to rebalance cell and module production as next- generation PERC technology leads the cell rebalancing act.

R&D spending analysis of top PV module manufacturers in 2014

By Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor, Photovoltaics International

R&D expenditure by major PV module manufacturers showed a remarkable turnaround in 2014. Previous reports had noted, especially in 2013, that R&D spending had not been immune to the PV industry’s period of profitless prosperity and was deemed a discretionary spend by the majority of leading producers. A return to profitability for many in 2014 resulted in a year of new record spending. There was record spending from 11 of the 12 companies covered, with Hanwha Q CELLS' spending actually declining in 2014.

Quarterly analysis of PV manufacturing capacity expansion plans

By Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor, Photovoltaics International

In this first quarterly report of 2015 a full first-quarter analysis will be presented, as well as the planned capacity announcements for March and April. Notably this will include Tier 1 manufacturers’ plans and a special lookat Malaysia and its potential for another wave of companies planning manufacturing operations in the country.Finally, further analysis of the potential renaissance in thin-film production will be provided.

Precursors for enabling higher- efficiency silicon wafer solar cells

By Bram Hoex, SPREE, University of New South Wales (UNSW)

The manufacturers of silicon wafer solar cells are constantly looking into cost-effective ways to increase the efficiency of their solar cells. Most of these enhancements result from incremental improvements and can be achieved by optimizing existing processes. However, it is widely recognized that in order to further improve the silicon wafer solar cell efficiency, new solar cell architectures are required. This will in turn require new manufacturing processes, which will typically involve new production equipment and consumables. New consumables can play an important role in the applicability or success of a new process step; in this paper a specific focus will be on the precursors used for the deposition of surface passivation films, such as silicon nitride and aluminium oxide.

Quarterly analysis of PV manufacturing capacity expansion plans

By Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor, Photovoltaics International

In edition 26 of Photovoltaics International the rebirth of PV manufacturing capacity expansions in 2014 was analysed; this covered announcements on a global basis from a wide range of companies and included thin film and dedicated solar cell and module assembly lines, as well as integrated cell and module assembly lines. Because of the current level of capacity expansion announcements, a roughly quarterly analysis of such plans will be undertaken during 2015.

Analysis of PV manufacturing capacity expansion plans in 2014

By Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor, Photovoltaics International

Global PV end-market demand for PV modules is expected to reach around 50GW in 2014, which has prompted the need for manufacturers to expand capacity to meet demand. With effective module capacity standing at around 45GW at the end of 2013, Photovoltaics International (PVI) has analysed solar cell, c-Si and thin-film capacity expansion announcements that were extensively reported by sister website, PV Tech, from the beginning of 2014 through to the end of November to establish key trends.

PV trade barriers: Strategies for Chinese and Taiwanese producers

By Matthias Grossmann, Business Development Manager, Viridis.iQ GmbH

The latest rounds of formal complaints against alleged breaches of trade agreements, the initiation of circumvention investigations, and preliminary announcements and rulings in various countries and trading zones all demonstrate that the multidimensional trade conflict in global PV markets is far from being resolved and is still simmering. The trade dispute is largely focused on the import of downstream products (c-Si wafer, cell and module) in current and prospective high-volume markets, such as the EU, the USA and potentially India. These nations or trading zones have implemented, or have proposed to implement, anti-dumping and countervailing duties, predominantly targeted against Chinese downstream producers. New rounds of investigations might lead to existing tariffs being extended to Taiwanese manufacturers that directly or indirectly import into the USA, while the EU might scrap a previous quota and minimum price system and revert to tariffs. This paper gives a brief historical review of the global PV trade dispute, and analyses the formal and legal grounding of anticircumvention actions, which in general increase the complexities of business planning. Because more than 70% of the global downstream manufacturing capacity is located in China and Taiwan, the manufacturers in these regions have no choice but to embrace an internationalization strategy that consists of production offshoring. The paper concludes with the introduction of potential strategies and recommendations which take account of increased complexities and uncertainties in business planning that arise from shifting trade barriers.

Overview of challenges in ultrathin substrate handling

By Tim Giesen, Project Manager, Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA; Raphael Adamietz, Project Manager, Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA; Guido Kreck, Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA; Tobias Iseringhausen, Project Manager, Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA; Roland Wertz, Manager, Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA

The positive expectations for the global PV market are driven by state-of-the-art PV products which have become economically attractive because of technical optimization. Nonetheless, scientists and engineers face the next generation of wafer-based PV technologies in terms of processing recipes and automation techniques. In this paper, motivations, challenges and advances relating to the handling of ultrathin PV substrates are identified for future application. A brief look out of the PV box at neighbouring disciplines in high-tech sectors will also be taken. The differences and advances in the automated handling of ultrathin substrates will be highlighted as well as the difficulties for transportation. The advanced production challenges of a gripperbased substrate movement will be accompanied by increased cleanliness requirements, as test results from the Fraunhofer IPA automation lab show.

The next PV capacity expansion phase is under way

By Mark Osborne, Senior News Editor, Photovoltaics International

Two years of overcapacity in the global PV supply chain have led to investment in new manufacturing capacity grinding to a halt. However, booming global end-market demand has brought the supply–demand imbalance under control and as a result the world’s leading equipment suppliers have begun looking at serious capacity expenditure. On the basis of recent announcements and annual report publications by some of the leading manufacturers, this article examines where, when and by whom capacity expansions are now planned.