PV Intelligence Brief 1 – 14 February 2012

Yingli, DuPont PV, sign $100m strategic deal Companies mentioned: Yingli, DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions, Isofoton, CNOOC, Suntech, Moser Baer Solar Systems, Trina Solar, Konarka, and GoIndustry DoveBid, Renewable Energy Corporation, and SolarCity

PV Intelligence Brief 1 – 14 February 2012

Yingli, DuPont PV, sign $100m strategic deal

DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions and Yingli Green Energy have signed a $100m strategic agreement, marking the second strategic agreement that DuPont has signed this month. This deal will see Yingli Green purchase DuPont’s Solamet metallization pastes and Tedlar polyvinyl fluoride backsheet for its solar modules.

The agreement is designed to extend DuPont and Yingli's commercial relationships and material supply availability in addition to its previous RD&E agreement signed last month.

Earlier this month, DuPont also entered into a strategic agreement with Suntech, which specifically focused on technology advancements, supply chain optimization and cost reduction in relation to DuPont’s Tedlar polyvinyl fluoride film supply.

Konarka certifies world’s first organic PV

Konarka's next generation organic solar cells are the world's first organic photovoltaic (OPV) to be certified in compliance with IEC 61646.

The certification work was done by Germany’s test TUV Rheinland's Solar Energy Assessment Center. performed the testing. These recent advances are based upon Konarka's inverted cell architecture, the company's proprietary intellectual property protected under issued patents.

"Receiving the world's first certification from TUV Rheinland for IEC compliance is an enormous achievement for Konarka's OPV cells," commented Howard Berke, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Konarka.

"While our thin-film solar technology has numerous characteristics that set it apart from crystalline silicon and other thin-film technologies, this TUV certification brings our competitive differentiation to a new level while affirming the stability of OPV under the solar industry's accelerated lifetime testing protocol.

The OPV they have developed claims to be thin, light weight, transparent and flexible, power plastic solar films which are ideally suited for BIPV projects since they can be combined with glass, steel, plastics, composites and fabrics as well as being offered in  several color and transparency options on Konarka's roll-to-roll continuous manufacturing process.

The company is based in Lowell, Massachusetts and has a manufacturing facility in New Bedford, Massachusetts with an office in Nurnberg, Germany and a business development office in Japan.

PV equipment makers see $25bn upgrade opp

Revenue declines of over 65% are forecast for the PV manufacturing equipment market in 2012, according to IMS Research. However, a new report forecasts that there could be a 20 GW and subsequent $25bn sales opportunity for the upgrade or replacement of existing capacity over the next four years.

According to an EQ International news report, ingot, wafer, cell and module makers are all focussing on increasing end-product quality and overall efficiencies.

Utilization rates are at an all-time low and the current lull in new demand and capacity across the supply chain will provide a potential opportunity for PV-product makers to gain market share longer-term through upgrading equipment now.

IMS Research Senior Research Director Tim Dawson said that “companies wishing to remain competitive and take the opportunity to gain market share, will be forced to invest in new equipment.”

He said that be believes that the pending market shake-out that will see less competitive product makers fall by the wayside, therefore stimulating further demand for equipment as existing manufacturing capacity goes offline."

He says that manufacturing equipment companies that stand to benefit most are those that have a clear equipment upgrade strategy available to their customers.

He added that those companies that can go through these equipment upgrades with the least disruption will be best prepared for the market cycle’s next “pick-up.”

Moser Baer to complete 100MW in Q1

Moser Baer Solar Systems is expected to deploy 100MW of installations in the first quarter of 2011 with projects undertaken in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Orissa, India. Projects in the third and fourth quarters of 2011 have really made an impact on their overall portfolio, including the 5MW plant in Jodhpur, Rajasthan and a 30MW Project in Gujarat, according to the company.

K.N Subramaniam, CEO, Moser Baer Solar Systems said that  economic and manufacturing cost challenges have severely affected the PV sector with the market starting to see signs of a gap between the top tier segment on account of quality, economics and demand supply equilibrium.

Subramaniam said in a statement that the company is “working towards a robust efficiency upgrade strategy using MIST technology to enhance our PV cell efficiency to 21% by leveraging our strong in house R&D and execution capabilities across multiple technologies.”

Moser Baer has also seen strong demand for ground mounted PV projects in India with about 120MW of PV capacity installed in India last month.

Trina Solar now ‘made in EU’

Trina Solar has certified its multicrystalline solar modules, manufactured with European-sourced silicon wafers, as fulfilling GSE requirements and therefore eligible for a 10% FiT premium in Italy. Certified Trina products include TSM-PC05, TSM-PC05.08, TSM-PC05.10, TSM-PC05.15, TSM-PC05.18 and TSM-PC14.

The ICIM certification process included the inspection of two Trina factories and two tests of the final products with ICIM auditors checking the production of Trina’s silicon wafer supplies in Europe and its production of modules with European-made silicon wafers.

All of the certified products received Product Certification by ICIM, stating that they have been tested according to CEI/EN 61213 and CEI/EN 61730.

REC puts three solar plants up for sale

Three solar wafer and cell plants owned by Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) Group in Norway have been placed on the global market by the London office of GoIndustry, marking one of the largest solar manufacturing plant disposals to date.

REC announced in October it was closing its 500MW capacity wafer plant at Herøya, its 200MW wafer multi-plant in Glomfjord and its solar cell plant in Narvik, a 200MW capacity site.

REC has now appointed GoIndustry, the global leader in surplus asset management, to dispose of the plants, which has a total estimated value of EUR50m.

The equipment for sale is described as state-of-the art – highly automated with low labour requirements and well maintained. Some of the equipment was installed just three years ago

GoIndustry Project Director Nick Schofield said the disposal represented a unique opportunity to acquire plant of such scale, newness and quality.

He added that it was illustrative of the trend for manufacturing in this sector to shift towards the Far East and emerging economies – a trend which was remarkable because of its rapidity and given the relative immaturity of solar component manufacturing as a sector.

He said: “Solar component manufacturing is, of course, a relatively new industry and it is striking that we are already witnessing a shift from Europe towards the emerging economies. We anticipate huge interest in this disposal from the Far and Middle East and Russia.

“The plant is available as a whole or in lots and, together, represents one of the largest disposal of solar manufacturing plants to date.”

Isofoton seals JV and investment in China

Isofoton and CNOOC, through its subsidiary responsible for its battery business, Tianjin Lishen Battery Joint-Stock, have signed an agreement to form a joint venture called ISOFOTON LISHEN New Energy (Tianjin) Co., Ltd.

The new company will develop photovoltaic projects in Chinaand abroad and allow both partners to take advantage of synergies in technology, financial and human resources. The combined business expects to develop PV projects totaling 150 MW. CNOOC will invest up to $300m in the projects.

The Chinese oil company said that it was attracted to Isofoton's project record, such as its high concentration photovoltaic plant in Gormud, China and its service stations for electric vehicles powered by clean energy. 

The latter project uses technology from Spanish train infrastructure company ADIF, called Ferrolinera, that harnesses train braking and traction, in addition to solar energy from ISOFOTON panels.

SOFOTON´s agreement with CNOOC is very important in fulfilling its strategic plan, which includes China as key market for international growth.

 SolarCity offers free installation

US-based SolarCity is expanding to Connecticut to make it possible for many homeowners and businesses to install solar panels for free and pay less for solar electricity than they pay for utility power.

SolarCity is expanding to Connecticut in large part due to the efforts of the state—through programs at Connecticut Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to promote, develop and invest in clean energy and energy efficiency projects, said the company.

“Why pay a premium for power generated by fossil fuels when you can pay less for cleaner energy?” said Ed Steins, SolarCity’s regional director in the Northeastern US. According to Steins Connecticut residents pay some of the highest electricity rates in the nation.

SolarCity gives customers the option to purchase their systems and installation, or to have the panels installed for free and pay only for the solar electricity they produce.