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PV capital expenditure shifts from polysilicon to cell capacity additions

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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.

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This issue of Photovoltaics International features an industry-first analysis of the rate at which manufacturing expansion announcements over the past two years are being turned into real nameplate production capacity. In another special report Finlay Colville characterises the nature of the current PV capex cycle as compared to the last. Whereas the previous spending cycle was notable for being “frantic”, the latest one has so far been more measured, with manufacturers focusing on strengthening their positions in specific segments of the value chain. Other highlights in this issue include a paper from researchers at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) exploring cell-to-module losses.

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