15 October 2010
Any abrasives or related tooling companies such as diamond saw makers, should be rubbing their hands at the prospect of meeting the needs of the growing solar energy market. Globally, the solar industry, particularly photovoltaics,PV< is going through a period of rapid growth.
In 2010, the PV solar power market has grown tremendously and installed power worldwide is currently estimated at 30 GW, i.e. enough energy to meet the requirements of 5 million Western Europeans. This rise should continue at a steady pace over the years to come, enabling the sector to grow by relying less on public subsidies.
Throughout the world there has been a flurry of announcements and investments, timed particularly for the recent Solar Power International exhibition.
In the US alone, boosted by a range of federal and state incentives including some US$2.3 billion in tax credits to US –based clean manufacturing. Already the US solar industry employs 93,000 people and forecast are than this figures is set to rise by 26 percent by August 2011. About $20 billion per year is being invested in new U.S. wind and solar production.
Recently LG Electronics announced that it was entering the North American market with the launch of a range of solar panels. The company plans to increase its global solar business to US$2.4 billion by 2015. The company is putting US$820 m into solar cell research and manufacturing over the next five years. This will raise this company’s production capacity to 1 GW.
LG Electronics is unveiling PV modules including high-performance multicyrstalline modules and monocrystalline modules. installations including on-grid general applications such as residential, commercial and power generation for utilities, LG's PV modules provide high-level materials and cell efficiencies for capturing and storing energy.
Distributed Sun LLC has announced a 20 megawatt agreement to deliver commercial solar power services at sites throughout the Mid-Atlantic. The new capacity - representing approximately $80 million of site construction in 2011. Combining clean, on-site power with significant green power savings, the solar facilities will generate over 23 gigawatt hours in their first year of operations, and more than 900 gigawatt hours over their lifetimes.
Arizona is the leading center for the development, manufacture, use, distribution and control of solar-based energy systems. Arizona receives enough daily sunshine to power the entire United States. The Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy at the University of Arizona is another global solar leader. The state is home to Solana, a 280-megawatt concentrating solar power plant under construction--it is the largest such project on private land in the U.S. Arizona is also home to the largest photovoltaic array on U.S. government land--a 15-megawatt plant under construction at Luke Air Force Base.
In Texas, SunEdison, a leading worldwide solar energy services provider and a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials has announced its first utility scale solar deployment through a contract with CPS Energy, the nation's largest municipally owned energy utility that services more than one million customers in the San Antonio area. SunEdison will build, own, and operate three solar generation facilities within the CPS Energy services territory totaling 30 megawatts (AC). The SunEdison facilities will help CPS Energy achieve a renewable energy target of 20 percent of total generation capacity and align with the efforts of the City of San Antonio and CPS Energy to be a leader in renewable energy. Construction is expected to start in 2011.
China and the Far East
Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd.a vertically integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots, wafers and photovoltaic ("PV") cells and modules in China has already reached its 2010 year-end target of 360 MW in ingot manufacturing capacity, 400 MW in wire saw capacity, 500 MW of cell capacity and 900 MW in module capacity. This represents increases of 100 MW in cell capacity and 200 MW in module capacity compared to the end of the second quarter of 2010 In addition, the Company announces that it plans to further increase capacity in the upstream segments of its manufacturing operations in 2011. The Company plans to increase:
-- Cell capacity from 550 MW to 820 MW;
-- Wire saw capacity from 400 MW to 572 MW; and
-- Ingot capacity from 360 MW to 510 MW.
The total capital expenditures required for this expansion, including the construction of new buildings and related infrastructure, are approximately $130 million
Peter Xie, CEO and President of Solarfun, commented, "Our goal is to make Solarfun more fully vertically integrated as we seek to lower our manufacturing costs and become the leading low cost producer in the market. As our current projections indicate, the expected capital expenditures will be spent on expanding ingot, wafer and cell capacities, which we believe will help improve our cost structure over time. In addition, as part of the capital expenditures for 2011, we plan to construct additional buildings, facilities and infrastructure, especially for our ingot and wire saw operations, which will lay a flexible foundation for further upstream expansion as market conditions permit."
Following the mass production of solar modules Sin the Taiwan (Taichung) and Czech sites, AU Optronics Corp. will also set up its second solar module plant in Tianjin, China for an expected capacity of 1GW. AU Optronics Corp. (AUO) is a global leader of thin film transistor liquid crystal display panels (TFT-LCD).
AUO generated US$11.2 billion) in sales revenue in 2009 and has a staff more than 42,000 employees, with global operations in Taiwan, Mainland China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, the U.S., and Europe.
Saint-Gobain is accelerating its growth in the PV Solar Sector and is setting up a joint venture with Hyundai Heavy Industries in Korea and is building a high-efficiency PV panels facility. This move follows the announcement of second Avancis plant in Germany in 2009. This is a 50-50 joint-venture, called Hyundai Avancis. The first
manufacturing facility for the joint-venture will be designed identically to
the second Avancis plant currently under construction in Germany, both in
manufacturing capacity and technology terms. It will produce an
annual volume of 850,000 modules based on CIGS (Copper - Indium - Gallium -
Selenide) thin-film technology, designed for roofs and solar fields. It will have an annual power output of 100 MW. The site should beoperational from the 2nd quarter of 2012 and will supply the global market.
Photovoltaic system installations in the first eight months of 2010 surpassed 4.8 GWp. With demand over 300 percent higher than the same period last year, Germany accounts for approximately half of all photovoltaic (PV) systems installed worldwide in 2010. Several of the world's largest photovoltaic companies have further invested in Germany this year to meet high demand.
Recent estimates predict that installations in Germany will approach 9.5 GWp in 2011. With 4.8 GWp installed capacity through August, Germany has surpassed the 3.8 GWp installed in all of 2009. As global demand is projected to continue growing, Germany further consolidates its position as the largest PV market and a highly attractive location for businesses to meet local and European demand.
Increased demand in the rooftop segment corresponds with installations by private users who overwhelmingly prefer high-quality systems. At the same time, there is growing demand for energy storage systems and smart grid applications that fully utilize the own consumption bonus of Germany's Renewable Energies Act (EEG). By 2013 energy from PV sources is expected to be competitive with conventional energy sources in the private consumer electricity market. Germany boasts a well established industrial infrastructure, large equipment supplier base, and qualified and experienced workforce. The country's PV industry also features the highest density of R&D institutes in the industry.