Solar PV technology trends for 2016

By Finlay Colville, Head of Market Intelligence, Solar Media

Solar photovoltaic manufacturing is benefiting today from increased allocations by leading producers for capex into new facilities and technologies. Capturing these trends in March 2016, the PVCellTech conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hosted by Photovoltaics International’s publisher, Solar Media, provided a fascinating insight into what can be expected during the second half of 2016. Leading the drive to higher cell efficiencies and panel powers are efforts to increase the production of passivated emitter rear contact, or PERC, cells. This new trend can be seen to be driving the internal roadmaps of all silicon cell manufacturers, in addition to competing n-type and thin-film providers.

America’s corporate clean energy trailblazers

By Ben Willis

Through its Corporate Clean Energy Universe, market researcher Clean Edge is tracking the 37 US corporations leading the way on low-carbon and renewable energy adoption. Its managing director, Ron Pernick, tells Ben Willis of his hopes that a second wave of smaller companies will follow their lead as new green energy business models hit the mainstream.

Back from the brink

By John Parnell, Solar Media

After a series of hammer blows, and against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty, the UK solar industry appears to have found some joy offering long-term contracts and self-consumption systems to commercial clients, a sector it had previously found hardest to crack, writes John Parnell.

A nice problem to have

By Danielle Ola, Solar Media

The US solar market finds itself with the bizarre, but welcome, problem of having to “manage” a boom. Danielle Ola examines the impact of the ITC extension, alternative drivers of US solar and debunks the supply crunch myth.

The rise and rise of US storage

By Matt Roberts, Executive director, Energy Storage Association

Energy storage in the US is being propelled forward by falling costs and increasingly favourable markets and policy. But for the full value of storage to be realised, numerous regulatory and fiscal barriers must still be surmounted, writes Matt Roberts.

US solar’s bright young thing

By John Parnell, Solar Media

Community solar is emerging as a promising new source of demand in the US, opening up access to solar among previously excluded groups. John Parnell reports on the prospects for a new market segment whose time seems to have come.

Opportunity knocks for Brazilian PV

By Dr. Rodrigo Lopes Sauaia, CEO and co-founder, ABSOLAR; Juliana Vasconcelos, Investment coordinator, Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).

Several rounds of auctions for large-scale projects and a favourable policy environment for distributed systems have helped create the right conditions for PV to flourish in Brazil. Rodrigo Sauaia and Juliana Vasconcelos explore the biggest areas of opportunity for foreign firms looking to access this promising new market.

Solar finance in India feels the squeeze

By Tom Kenning, Solar Media

Cutthroat pricing in India’s booming solar market is causing headaches for developers. Tom Kenning reports on some of the looming pinch points for solar finance in a country where the cost of capital remains persistently high.

Cell technology trends impacting module supply in 2017

By Finlay Colville, Head of Market Research, Solar Media

The rebound in solar cell capital expenditures during 2015 and 2016 has resulted in strong capacity additions and upgrade spending that is set to redefine the technology landscape in 2017 and beyond. Within this however is a broad range of drivers, impacting the mix of n-type and p-type cells produced, in addition to the various strategies employed to increase cell efficiencies while reducing overall blended manufacturing costs. Coupled with the various module types being selected within the key global end markets, and the balance between effective capacity and market demand, 2017 is forecast to see a range of approaches adopted by cell producers, with technology differentiation becoming increasingly important across the entire industry.

PV capital expenditure shifts from polysilicon to cell capacity additions

By Finlay Colville, Head of market intelligence, Solar Media

Capital expenditure by the solar PV industry continues to rebound from the lows of 2012, but the spending trends have now shifted from polysilicon expansions to cell capacity additions. In particular, the transition to cell capex has been driven mainly by the need for Chinese module suppliers to diversify manufacturing outside mainland China and especially to countries in Southeast Asia, coupled with the ongoing problems for polysilicon producers struggling to adapt to sales prices for goods produced.

Solar in the Middle East and North Africa

By Tom Kenning, John Parnell & Ben Willis, Solar Media

An eight-page special report on the growth of solar in the MENA region, focusing on market opportunities, policy, technology, and operations and maintenance.

Competing PV cell technologies set to co-exist out to 2020

By Finlay Colville, Head of market intelligence, Solar Media

The solar industry is going through the final stages of correcting its supply–demand imbalance, with the decision-making on technology choice for the next generation of GW-scale factory expansions becoming a key strategic issue for leading manufacturers. In contrast to previous capacity expansion phases – where new entrants largely copied known process flows and technology types – the next round of technology additions is seeing a broader range of influences, indicative of a new type of technology roadmap unfolding for the industry as a whole.