Module tech under the microscope

It’s always nice when someone tells you directly that you can’t do something to set out and prove them wrong. Photovoltaics International, its sister title PV-Tech.org and their publisher Solar Media were told in the early phases of planning the inaugural PV CellTech conference, that pulling together a string of CTOs and R&D heads from the some of the biggest firms in the cell processing supply chain would not be possible. Following the event’s second outing in March 2017, we have now done it twice.

Digitalisation, drones and data – Intersolar 2017 rolls into town

By Ben Willis

Intersolar preview | The need for ongoing innovation is one of the few givens in the unpredictable solar business. Ben Willis speaks to two of the lead organisers of Intersolar Europe about the likely big topics on the show floor this year and what those tell us about industry’s continuing evolution.

La Renaissance Solaire

By Liam Stoker

France | With Europe in search of another PV poster child, an Emmanuel Macron-led France looks all but set to truly embrace the solar revolution. But will it learn from the mistakes of other boom markets that have preceded it?

Mexico: ‘The place to be’

By Danielle Ola

Market update | Mexico as yet has only a small installed base of solar PV. But with widely lauded market reforms beginning to take effect, and a succession of highly competitive tenders under its belt, this is a market whose time is about to come. Danielle Ola reports

Emerging market briefing

By Tom Kenning

Tom Kenning looks at the latest trends from some of the world’s most promising emerging PV markets. This issue features Turkey, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia

Solar torrent in post- Abbott Australia

Utility-scale PV | Since the fall of former prime minister Tony Abbott two years ago, the prospects for large-scale solar in Australia have enjoyed a dramatic turnaround. Tom Kenning reports on the changing fortunes of the industry and how storage looks set to become a key partner technology for utility solar.

Solar PV manufacturing in 2017: factors driving technology change

By Finlay Colville, Head of Market Research, Solar Media Ltd

Having installed more than 75 gigawatts in 2016, the solar industry continues to create opportunities for cell and module manufacturers to expand capacities, while upgrading technologies and improving process flows. Supply remains dominated by p-type crystalline silicon modules, despite ongoing research into n-type variants and the addition of PERC on p-type mono cells. The efficiency increases from p-type mono are now driving p-type multi cell producers to accelerate changes to production lines from both black silicon and PERC. This is now setting new benchmarks for the supply of solar modules in 2017 to utility-scale solar installations.

Japan Update - Living by a new set of rules

By Andy Colthorpe, Solar Media - Reporter

Market update | Japan’s solar market has slowed considerably since the early days of its feed-in tariff. But as Andy Colthorpe reports, its fundamentals still look strong and there areplenty of promising policy drivers in the pipeline to keep demand buoyant.

Europe and China’s solar trade war - Dumping

Trade wars | The EU-China trade row appears to be entering its swansong but its impact has been eroded and overridden by global solar market dynamics. We look at the divisive policy’s future as it plays catch up.

Emerging Markets in Africa - Going Large in Sub-Saharan Africa

Utility PV | Despite enormous potential, Sub-Saharan Africa still has only a handful of operational large-scale PV power plants. Ben Willis reports on the ongoing efforts to help utility PV take root in a part of the world where it makes perhaps most sense but faces the biggest hurdles.

Clean energy can’t be Trumped

By Danielle Ola , Solar Media - Reporter

Policy | The new US president has wasted no time in following through on campaign pledges to row back on clean energy regulation and climate change policy. But as Danielle Ola reports, with the US solar industry in rude health, it should be well placed to weather theTrump storm.

East Asia solar special report - Top Runner

Technology | China’s Top Runner PV auctions are growing from a small base to potentially representing the majority of utility solar deployment by next year. Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Yvonne Liu speaks to John Parnell about the companies and technologies gunning to take advantage.

China’s 13th Five-Year Plan for solar – a look at 2017 and beyond

By Frank Haugwitz, Frank Haugwitz is an expert on PV and renewable energy in China. Based in Beijing since 2002, he founded and directs Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory (AECEA), a consultancy working to help European and Asian companies understand Chinese renewable energy regulation and policy. Since 2013 he has been the elected vice chairman of the Renewable Energy Working Group of the European Chamber of Commerce in China.

Market update | At the end of 2016 China published a long-awaited plan that will determine the course of PV deployment for the next five years. China solar industry expert Frank Haugwitz unpicks the plan and assesses the country’s chances of surpassing 100GW of capacity this year.

Financing Southeast Asian solar

Finance | The emerging solar markets of Southeast Asia each present their own unique set of conditions from a financing perspective. Reporting back from the Solar Finance & Investment Southeast Asia conference in Thailand at the end of 2016, Tom Kenning looks at how a promising solar region is bringing in the investors.

Built tough for Taiwan

System integration | Taiwan has set itself a target of 20GW of PV by 2025, but standing in the way of that are acute land shortages and some extreme weather conditions. Tom Kenning reports on the creative technological and construction solutions being found to address Taiwan’s unique challenges.