Looking back over the year these are the stories that have made the headlines and been viewed the most by the audience at PV-Tech in the Fab and Facilities section. Take a look at the biggest stories involving Q-Cells, SunPower, Masdar, Applied Materials, Arise and Signet Solar.
In May Q-Cells announced plans to build a thin-film manufacturing facility on a 60ha site in the Silicon Border business park located near Mexicali, Mexico. The move showed Q-Cells strategy to “globalise” its manufacturing base and commitment to the growing US market at a time before the tax credits had been approved. The $3.5 billion commitment also showed that Q-Cells had its eye on First Solar’s top thin film position, as the size of the investment and site will allow Q-Cells to aggressively ramp in order to take advantage of the burgeoning US utility market.
Early in the year, PV-Tech caught up with Anton Milner, Q-Cells CEO, in a video interview, where he outlined these strategies.
Malaysia has been a strong contender in PV manufacturing since First Solar and, in May, SunPower agreed to get on board. Tom Werner, CEO of SunPower, announced plans to build a new c-Si facility in Malaysia that will see 1GW of capacity by 2010.
Masdar announced an ambitious Solar Cities project early in 2008. However it wasn’t until late May that we found out Applied Materials had secured a $2 billion order for its turnkey ‘SunFab’ line.
Arise Technology surprised the industry by producing solar cells from a plant that was built and ramped inside seven months.
Signet Solar has had a big year. It was the first to produce one of the new Gen 8.5, Applied Materials 5.7m squared thin film panels in May. The company chose New Mexico for its first US-based manufacturing facility and Chennai for its first Asian plant. To cap off the year Signet recently shipped its first panels from their Mochau facility in Germany after receiving their FAT acceptance in October.