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Magazine Archive 04-2017

The knock-on effect

China slowdown: The curious lack of any discernible first half installation boom in China is leading to lower multi-Si product prices and suppressed utilization rates in China and Taiwan. These knock-on effects are a result of uncertain policy support from government, exacerbated by a wait-and-see approach adopted by many developers.

Solar cell manufacturers ranked

c-Si cell manufacturing: Tier-1 cell makers continue to expand their capacities, both in and outside of China. Increased demand for monocrystalline cells is evident in the market, as high efficiency PERC starts to become the dominant technology trend. Industry analysts IHS Markit provide a ranking of the top manufacturers in 2016.

Powerful PV in, and from, China

When China switched on to solar, it changed our industry forever. China’s role as the PV manufacturing powerhouse is well established. However, industry observers, analysts and market participants are still unsure how China’s position as the largest solar end market is being digested.

Mono switch and PERC applications drive orders

Wet chemical processes: Since 2015, Rena has supplied some 8 GW of alkaline texturing equipment – for monocrystalline cell production. In Q1 2017 the company reported alkaline texturing and junction isolation sales of some 4.5 GW. Given this, Rena’s sales manager Ulrich Jäger, and Daniel Pusch, from the company’s R&D department, sat down with pv magazine about the current market and technological outlook.

The shipment shuffle

2016 PV manufacturer shipments: Understanding the vagaries of the global solar market’s actual size and pressure points is a nontrivial undertaking. From headline GW-level installation figures through to regional cell capacities and actual inventory levels, getting a firm grasp of what is available to the market has never been more important.

Kink or fluctuation?

Price development: Anyone interested in an answer to the question of how sustainable the drastic price drop for solar modules is would likely have a look at price-learning curve figures. Although it also tracks technological progress, its forecasting value is limited.

Learning how to read a learning curve

Market analysis: The last edition of the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic (ITRPV) roadmap addressed the end of the learning curve for PV modules as we know it. What lies behind the end of the learning curve is also the end of a common belief: industries cannot always be compared and PV is no exception to a common Shaddock-style rule: “if you believe you know what is going to happen, then you did something wrong”, argues Becquerel Institute co-founder and director Gaëtan Masson.

“Thin film enables new use cases”

Thin film production equipment: While long thought to be facing an uphill battle against c-Si rivals, suppliers of thin film production equipment have seen a notable uptick in orders in the last 12-18 months. For later entrants to the PV module production game in China, CIGS has is emerging as the semiconductor choice of many. German robotics giant Kuka is riding this wave of investment and Joachim Döhner, Kuka’s Division Head Technology Solutions spoke to pv magazine about the opportunities.

Customized solar solutions

Interview: Gener Miao, the VP of global sales for Chinese Tier-1 solar company JinkoSolar discusses the firm’s growth in the evolving Japanese solar PV sector, explaining how customization of product and approach can reap benefits in this high cost, high quality market.

The big stuff

Thin film: First Solar is moving to a much larger format for its Series 6 modules, which are due to begin production next year. Is this the signal that the thin film industry has been looking for to move to larger formats?

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