World Exclusive: Samsung Electronics reveals solar manufacturing strategy

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

At Intersolar Europe 2010, a powerhouse of the semiconductor industry exhibited for the first time but based on their manufacturing strategy will be attending this and many other major events for years to come. As is typical of the Korean-based memory manufacturer, little has actually been revealed about their solar manufacturing strategy, especially capacity and capital spending plans. However, PV-Tech was granted an exclusive video interview with the head of its new Solar Energy division, Changsik Choi, Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics.

Although it may be early days for Samsung Electronics foray into the solar industry, it becomes clear instantly that the company is taking its entry into the market seriously and is targeting to become a major player.

“Currently we are focusing on the crystalline silicon business, especially on the monocrystalline silicon,” noted Changsik Choi Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics, Solar Energy Business Team.

Choi said that Samsung was targeting the high-efficiency cell space but instead of offering a premium priced product, it has focused on tapping into its LCD and semiconductor processing knowhow to produce high-efficiency cells at low cost.

The Samsung Electronics executive made it clear that its focus for 2010 would be to gain acceptance from key customers for its cell technology.

Choi said that it planned to spend US$6 billion over the next 10-years to build and expand manufacturing capacity to “several gigawatt in the near future,” though declined to be more specific.

Currently, pilot production of mono-c-Si cells is at the low megawatt level as it gains customer acceptance but Choi made it clear that the gigawatt ramp was a priority.

Despite Samsung’s expertise as the largest TFT-LCD producer, Choi noted that the company was still evaluating its thin-film solar options and that definite plans would made in the “near future.”

Samsung Electronics may not be in a rush to enter the thin-film market just yet, but its move to produce high-efficiency cells at low cost is a major disruptive move. Samsung is noted in the semiconductor industry as an aggressive driver in manufacturing cost reduction and invests heavily in new process technologies and manufacturing capacity to be the lowest cost provider.

In solar it has seen weaknesses in manufacturers supplying the high-end efficiency market, primarily due to the ‘premium’ price tag attached. It is well known that SunPower has the highest cell efficiencies but has struggled to cut manufacturing costs and is now partnering with AUO to drive down cell production costs, while expanding capacity to gain the economies of scale.

JA Solar is also targeting high-efficiency cells and modules via its OEM module business, cutting the cost and ‘premium’ price advantage held by the likes of Sanyo and SunPower.

The battleground is rapidly forming to establish the future dominant high-efficiency low-cost cell producer, and Samsung’s entry only raises the stakes for more established players.

20 October 2021
Utility-scale solar is evolving, shaped by higher power modules and demand for increasingly lower levelised cost of electricity (LCOE). Those trends are also changing project requirements elsewhere, with inverters capable of delivering high power density and power capacity in strong demand. In this webinar, FIMER will detail how its innovative high-power, multi-MPPT string inverter and modular conversion solution can both meet those demands and transform the utility-scale solar sector for the better.
20 October 2021
The race is on but we need to sprint… With global climate talks fast approaching and time running out to prevent the most disastrous impacts of climate change, now is the time to act. The Summit will explore the opportunities that emerge from taking action on climate change and provide a clear pathway forward for governments, citizens and companies. Taking place just 10 days before the G20 meeting in Rome, on 30-31 of October, and in the lead up to the critical COP26 meeting in Glasgow from 31 October–12 November, this event will be instrumental in influencing ambitious global action.
10 November 2021
The solar tracker market continues to mature at breakneck speed, with designs and component selections becoming ever-more complex in the pursuit of better project economics. But a more simplistic design could deliver a triple benefit of lower Capex, EPC and Opex costs. This webinar will set out the ideal single axis tracker design for utility-scale solar farms. The design leapfrogs from decades of experience, with a comprehensive understanding and attention to the three cost structures of Capex, EPC and Opx. Sun and Steel Solar has prototyped a single axis tracker designed to deliver up to US$0.03/W in real savings compared to existing single axis trackers on the market. That’s US$30 million for every gigawatt deployed.
15 November 2021
The 10th edition of the famous Metallization and Interconnection Workshop, MIW2021, will take place in the Thor Central venue in Genk, Belgium, on Monday, November 15, and Tuesday, November 16, 2021 as a face-to-face meeting. We are longing for direct exchange of knowledge and ideas after a long time. Hopefully you can be part of it! But of course, the organizors will keep an eye on the evolution of the Covid pandemic. It will be assess carefully, whether the workshop can be held without major risks or excessive restrictions. We are looking forward to exciting talks, discussions and meetings and to welcoming you in Genk!
23 November 2021
The solar, storage and EV industries in the UK are going from strength to strength. There is no better place for the community to meet, share ideas and do business than Solar & Storage Live from 23-25 November at the NEC.There’s something for everyone; more than 150 exhibitors, a high-level conference, a start up and innovation zone, a poster zone, strategic partners to network with and much more. 
1 December 2021
Understand fully the technical and logistical supply chains that determine the production and performance of solar modules, including all related factors impacting quality, reliability & bankability. This event will be run online with streamed content, access to session recordings and chat/messaging tools for delegates to connect.

Read Next

October 19, 2021
Funds managed by private equity firm Antin Infrastructure Partners have secured a deal to acquire a majority stake in US solar and storage developer Origis Energy.
October 19, 2021
Lightsource bp has announced its entry into Poland’s solar market through a co-development deal which will see the developer proceed with a 757MWp pipeline in the country.
October 19, 2021
Shortlisted bids in Saudi Arabia’s latest solar tender have jumped significantly on the lowest price recorded in the country’s previous renewables programme, reflecting the hikes in PV equipment costs in recent months.
October 19, 2021
The White House has said renewables are still key to its budget reconciliation bill despite rumours of the investment tax credit (ITC) being modified as opposition to the bill by senators Manchin and Sinema continue
October 19, 2021
Europe's energy crisis can be a boon for renewables deployment on the continent by bolstering business cases, but familiar foes such as grid constraints will still need to be hurdled in the coming years.
October 19, 2021
Solar tracker manufacturer Soltec has signed a framework agreement with renewables developer Acciona Energia to supply trackers over a three-year period.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
November 10, 2021
8am (PST) | 5pm (CET)
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021