More than 1 GW of subsidized small solar arrays were installed in China last month alone and manufacturer Suntech has announced the start of operations at its 500 MW Indonesian cell and module fab.
Once an industrial solar giant, Suntech has worked hard to rebuild its foundations and regain a solid footing in the global PV industry, following its financial crash in 2013. pv magazine caught up with CEO Tang Jun at this year’s SNEC 2020, held in Shanghai, China, last month, to find out its plans for the future, and how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected operations. Strong global growth and continued multi-crystalline production are two cornerstones of the business.
With a capacity of 2,2 MW, the rooftop array is at the industrial plant of Belgian company Ontex, which will buy almost all the electricity generated from project developer Menapy under a 15-year power supply deal.
At the beginning of the decade, Zhengrong Shi, at that time founder and CEO of Suntech, was one of the most influential people in solar. After the Chinese module manufacturer ran into troubles in 2013, he had to go and, thus, slipped out of the spotlight. Now he is back as founder of Sunman, a company specializing in lightweight crystalline modules using polymer composite materials instead of glass. pv magazine caught up with him at Intersolar Europe 2019.
Two sites with capacities of 34.7 MW and 25.7 MW will supply unsubsidized power to Warrington Borough Council. The smaller project will provide the local authority’s energy needs and reduce its electricity bill while the larger one will sell renewable energy on the open market, further bolstering council income.
Analysts at PV InfoLink said the number of markets open to new technologies such as half-cut and shingled panels is constantly rising. Australia, Japan, Spain, the UAE and Brazil were cited as the hottest markets for Chinese “special modules”. Total annual production in China for half-cut modules, which are set to increase their market share this year, should reach around 20 GW.
The solar event in Lyon illustrated how expectations of French solar remain big despite lower-than-expected development and issues related to regulations and carbon footprint requirements. The large participation of international and Chinese players seeking business among installers and distributors is a signal things may improve in the short term, and larger volumes may be deployed in the coming years.
The parent company of Chinese solar module maker, Suntech saw its net loss almost quadruple in the first half of this year, while net revenue grew year-on-year by just 0.7%. Sales of solar products in the period reached around 1.9 GW, and the group’s total installed operational PV capacity reached 1.5 GW at the end of June.
The annual SNEC photovoltaic power expo 2018, in Shanghai, closed yesterday after the 12th edition of the world’s biggest PV exhibition. Reflecting the rapid development of China’s PV industry, the scale of SNEC increased from 15,000 sqm at the first exhibition to 180,000 sqm last year and 200,000 this year – a 10% year-on-year increase. Preliminary figures show more than 220,000 visits to this year’s edition, with more than 5,000 industry professionals attending the expo and series of high-level conferences.
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