US dominates solar manufacturing capacity expansion announcements in August

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According to PV Tech’s preliminary analysis, global PV manufacturing expansion plans for the month of August 2015 neatly totalled 1,000MW, down over 72% from 3,680MW in the previous month, but significantly higher than announcements made in August 2014, which only totalled 50MW.

The majority of capacity expansions (800MW) were for PV module facilities that included 320MW of capacity additions at existing facilities and 480MW for new module assembly plants.

Only four companies announced plans in August, including Suniva on its acquisition by Shunfeng/Suntech, Silfab Solar, Amerisolar and Globo Brazil, which was a new facility that officially opened in the month. 

US manufacturing 

Significantly for the month of August virtually all the announcements (820MW) related to North America and 700MW to the US. 

However, despite the booming US market and stiffened anti-dumping duties against China and Taiwan, only 1,000MW of new capacity plans have been announced for the US so far in 2015. 

A total of 1,843MW of capacity expansion announcements were made for the US in 2014, 1,000MW attributed to SolarCity. Interestingly, around 530MW of the 2014 announcements for the US have become operational to date, meaning they are now classified as effective capacity increases

However, around 8,500MW of capacity expansion announcements in Asia since the start of 2014 have primarily been made to circumvent or capitalise on the anti-dumping duties in the US. 

PV Tech recently highlighted the seismic shift that occurred in the first half of 2015, which saw little if any new capacity plans announced by Chinese producers for manufacturing in China.

Instead, Chinese silicon-based PV manufacturers announced more than 6.7GW of planned capacity expansions in a number of overseas countries that included India, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Brazil and the US.

The announcements in 2015 for capacity expansions in the US have included three Chinese firms, Seraphim, Shunfeng and Amerisolar, totalling 800MW out of the 1,000MW to date. 

Global update

So far in 2015, cumulative global PV capacity expansion announcements have totalled 20,785MW, up over 62% compared to 12,805MW in the prior year period.

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