Solitek to double cell and module production in two years

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Solitek is one of the few remaining PV cell manufacturers in Europe. The company, which has originally been focusing on research and development, now is aiming to grow into a competitive player on the global PV market.

“European manufacturers play an important role in the sustainable development of the European PV market,” Solitek Development director Vytautas Kieras said in the interview with pv magazine.

Now, Solitek is planning to increase the capacity of its manufacturing units in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius from 70 to 140 MW. Depending on the demand, PV cell production will grow up to 25% every six month.

The manufacturer will also double its glass-glass modules production from 50 to 100 MW, added Vytautas Kieras. Solitek is aiming to offer competitive product prices. The company already has a strong client base in Europe, including Scandinavian countries, Germany, Austria, France, Italy and Poland.

Solitek’s ambitious plans are not coming from nowhere. To date, the production is running at its full capacity, explained Kieras. In Q4 2015 the manufacturer achieved the highest quarterly results since its inception. And in January 2016 Solitek demonstrated the highest single-month increase of 10 to 15%, according to the deputy director, who, however, refuses to give any concrete figures.

With its capacity increased Solitek might have the possibility to start production of mono-crystalline silicon solar cells in addition to its polysilicon products. “We are currently evaluating this option,” Vytautas Kieras said in the interview with pv magazine.

In terms of PV modules manufacturing, Solitek is currently focusing on glass-glass modules, since they show strong performance particularly in warm regions. The company is getting ready to roll out its next generation modules in June this year. According to the Solitek’s deputy director, the new modules will have higher resistance and efficiency levels.

In a partnership with the United Nations Solitek participates in several PV-projects in Southeast Asian and African countries, where in Q4 2015 it developed a number of solar installations of 3 to 4 MW. This year the company is planning to continue with a wider range of projects of 10 to 20 MW. Considering the specifics of developing countries, these projects often require off-grid solutions. Solitek’s activity in the region also includes project development and operation of rooftop PV systems, small ground-mounted systems as well as community projects, said Kiera. The company is also actively involved in the EU program “Horizon 2020”, where is supports local initiatives in Lithuania.

With the increase of its production capacity Solitek will expand their share of the market and demonstrate that European PV manufacturers can compete on a global scale, Kieras highlighted in the interview. He does not, however, expect that company can grow fast in its own national market. To date, Lithuania has about 60MW of solar power plants. “Since 2014, PV market is growing slow in the country,” explained Kieras. Last year Lithuania adopted new net-metering regulations, which are currently being evaluated and improved. Kieras believes that the new regulations will result in further development of the PV market in Baltic countries in 2017-2018. With these optimistic expectations in view, Lithuanian PV industry players are aiming to add 50 MW of solar in one year.

Translation by Adilya Zaripova. For the original article in German, see the pv magazine Deutschland website.