Wednesday, April 21, 2010

LDK Solar Achieves 2GW of Wafer Production Capacity

by Karl-Erik Stromsta

China’s LDK Solar confirms plans to intensify its efforts to remake itself as a vertically integrated solar company, shunning the advice of investors who believe the firm should slow its feverish expansion.

LDK this week reached an annualized wafer production capacity of 2 gigawatts (GW), solidifying its position as the world’s dominant solar-wafer maker. LDK, which counts Q-Cells, Conergy, Trina and JA Solar among its key customers, intends to swell its wafer production to 2.6GW by the end of 2011.

Its 10.8% slice of the wafer market last year was more than double that of its closest competitor, Norway’s REC Wafer.

“Five years ago we had a dream to become the world’s largest and most economical multi-crystalline wafer manufacturer for the solar industry, and we have done it,” says chief executive Xiaofeng Peng. “I am proud of the way our team has successfully executed one of the most impressive capacity ramps in the sector.”

But LDK is no longer content to dominate the wafer market from its base in Jiangxi province, with plans to become a major player along the entire solar value chain, covering polysilicon, cells and modules.

Its expansion plans are stunning in their ambition. By the end of 2011 it will grow its solar-cell output from nothing to 480 megawatts (MW); its polysilicon output from 6,000 tonnes to 18,000 tonnes; and its module output from 600MW to 2GW.

LDK has also cemented a strategy to become a major solar-park developer, with a particular focus on China in the coming years.Vice president Mario Zen says the firm began developing solar arrays in Europe in 2009 “to develop confidence and get our feet wet, in order to be ready for Chinese projects in the future”.

LDK, which has close ties to the Chinese government, intends to aggressively pursue large-scale solar projects as part of China’s still-hazy Golden Sun subsidy scheme. The government has so far approved 642MW of projects under Golden Sun, with LDK holding concessions for 19MW.

See the original article here

Poly-Si Spot Price Begins to Rise on Increased Demand

Nuying Huang, Taipei; Willie Teng, DIGITIMES [Thursday 22 April 2010]

Polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) spot price has increased to US$55/kg compared with US$50-55/kg seen in the first quarter, and prices for some express orders have risen to US$56-57, according to industry sources.

Since demand is expected to trend upwards in 2010, some poly-Si producers have begun selling materials at smaller volumes and holding onto their supplies in anticipation of price appreciation in the coming months, the sources said, adding that buyers are now forced to diversify their poly-Si suppliers.

Previously signed contract prices have remained relatively stable thus far, but some have modified agreements to adjust prices on a quarterly basis.

See the original article here

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Scaling Single-Junction a-Si Thin-Film PV Technology to the Next Level

The recent photovoltaic industry shakeout which started around Q3 2008 has faced the overcapacity, credit crunch, and economic crisis that significantly declined the average selling price by 50-65%, including the price of thin-film photovoltaic modules. The changing business environment has put significant pressure on all PV manufacturing technologies but more candidly on amorphous silicon thin-film single-junction module manufacturers to advance and scale up the device efficiency and aggressively drive cost reduction. This paper outlines the technical approach taken at Moser Baer Photovoltaic Technologies India Limited (PVTIL), including process optimization and device management strategies, to enhance the efficiency (total area) of the thin-film single-junction amorphous silicon module as manufactured using Applied Materials' SunFab line.

See the original article here

Sharp's 1GW Thin-Film Plant Starts Production

With an initial production capacity of 160MW, Sharp has started volume production at its 1GW a-Si thin-film plant in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. According to the company, the new facility will be a model plant for future Sharp thin-film solar cell plants around the world.

Sharp had previously announced a joint venture 160MW a-Si thin-film plant with Enel and STMicroelectronics, using an existing shuttered semiconductor fab in Catania, Italy, as well as reporting the news of its a-Si thin-film modules' conversion efficiency of 8.5%.

A new tandem-junction a-Si module with ~10% conversion rates will also enter volume production at the new plant in Japan.

See the original article here