The PV world 10 years ago – Summer Series Part VII

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Availability of raw materials for photovoltaic components at risk in Europe. According to a report published by the European Commission in June 2010, the availability of critical raw materials for thin-film PV modules in the European Union was under increasing pressure due to the growth of developing economies and new emerging technologies. A group of experts described as critical the supply of 14 raw materials out of 41 minerals and metals analyzed. Demand could more than triple for these raw materials by 2030 compared to the 2006 level. The high supply risk was attributed in particular to the fact that a large part of world production came from a small group of countries, including China, Russia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Brazil. This concentration of production was compounded by low substitutability and low recycling rates, according to the Commission.

In the report, the Commission stated that “many emerging economies are pursuing industrial development strategies through trade, fiscal and investment instruments designed to reserve their resource base for their exclusive use.”

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani commented on the need for “fair play in external markets, a good framework for promoting the sustainable supply of raw materials from EU sources, as well as greater resource efficiency and greater use of recycling. Our aim is to make sure that European industry can continue to play a leading role in new technologies and innovation, and we have to make sure we have the necessary elements to do so.”

New solar factory in Germany. Q-Cells SE and Innotech Solar (ITS) announced an alliance under which ITS would open a new factory in 2011 near Halle, Germany.

As part of the new agreement, the parties will transfer certain Q-Cells assets as well as company personnel working in Thalheim to the new factory. Q-Cells SE will also sell all of its solar cells to ITS.

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Etrion plans to acquire more than 30 MW of solar in Italy. Canadian company Etrion announced that it had obtained financing of €45 million to acquire photovoltaic plants in operation or about to start operation in Italy that would produce more than 55 million kWh per year. They will benefit from the 2009 feed-in tariff rate of €0.353 per kWh or the 2010  rate of €0.346 per kWh, plus a market price of approximately 0.08 per kWh.

Yingli expands its presence in Spain. Despite the turbulence in the Spanish solar market, Chinese PV module manufacturer Yingli announced the expansion of its presence in Spain, partly as a basis for reaching other markets.

The general director of the Spanish division, Fernando Calisalvo, told pv magazine that the Yingli service center in Madrid would not only be expanded, but a distribution center would be added so that the company could strengthen its position and use the Iberian Peninsula as a base for new markets in North Africa and Latin America. A company spokesperson added that Yingli would primarily focus on the growing rooftop markets in Spain and Portugal.

With a market share of around 20%, Yingli was then one of the largest players in the Spanish module market. The company’s main activity focused on the realization of medium-sized projects on roofs and land ranging between 300 and 500 kW.

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