While PV equipment sales remain only a fraction on the boom years of 2008 to 2010, orders for new technologies are coming in. The latest is Schmids Geminus bifacial turnkey line, to a Mexican module producer. The 110 MW in equipment will be for bifaical cell and module production and will employ Schmids multi busbar solution.
Todays announcement from Schmid indicates that both multi and monocrystalline wafers can be utilized in the Geminus production tools.
ERDM has been producing PV modules in San Andrés Tuxtla, Mexico, since 2007. ERDM Solar indicates that it will use the bifacial modules produced on the Geminus line for both domestic and international markets.
The Geminus sale is a particular highlight for Schmid as it unveiled its bifacial line only three months ago, at the EU PVSEC trade show in Amsterdam, in September 2014.
According to ERDM the investment decision has been made due to the observation that the market has changed from a buyers to a seller’s market for non-Chinese and Taiwanese high end solar products, said Schmid president and CEO Christian Schmid. Hence it is exactly the right timing for the upstream integration.
In light of tariffs on Chinese and Taiwanese solar products imported in the U.S., analysts report that Mexico is promising destination for firms looking to establish manufacturing outside of these countries.
While there is no standard flashing protocol for measuring the efficiency of bifacial modules, Schmid says that modules from the Geminus line can result in 30% higher yields. Yields will depend on the albedo, or reflection coefficient, which varies between different surfaces under a module. White roofs, fresh snow or seashells all result in a high albedo.
Schmid claims that multicrystalline bifacial modules can roll off the Geminus line with an efficiency equivalent of 18% and at a BoS cost advantage of US$0.07 to $0.10/Wp, when compared to standard monofacial multi modules.
Mexicos solar industry
Mexico is currently the country with the most solar module manufacturing capacity in Latin America. Most of the production is for export.
As an end market, Mexico currently has a cumulative installed PV generating capacity of around 150 MW. The Mexican Energy Regulator has approved about 2.5 GW of solar projects. There are currently no import taxes placed on modules in Mexico but this could change, according to Mexican solar association ANES alongside wider taxation reforms.
Additional reporting from Blanca Diaz Lopez.