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10 key trends for global PV industry

February 11, 2013 1 comment

Finlay Colville, vice president, NPD Solarbuzz, USA, recently presented the 10 key trends for the PV industry. According to him, the 10 key trends are:

1. PV demand growth. The industry has been characterized by strong growth rates of 25 percent to >100 percent Y/Y for the past decade. Now, the industry needs to plan for growth at more modest levels.

2. Globalization of PV demand. The emerging regions emerged for PV demand in 2012.

3. China end-market demand in 2013. China is forecast to account for approximately 25 percent global demand in 2013. The emerging demand is confined to a select group of countries across the three emerging regions.

4. Capacity imbalance reset. The nameplate capacity levels at the 60-GW level are often cited. However, the the PV industry currently has an ‘effective’ capacity of 41-42 GW. Therefore, demand needs to exceed 40 GW for proper reset.

Top module suppliers.

Top module suppliers.

5. Competitive shakeout. The top-10 module suppliers by MW for 2012 only comprised 50 percent of the year shipments. Also, a similar pattern is seen for c-Si cell production. We can expect another two years of shakeout on the supply side.

6. Cost and price rationalization. Every segment of the supply side is subject to price/cost pressure: from poly to BoS supply. Even reducing the silicon/nonsilicon costs of modules to 53c/W level by the end of 2013 may still result in negative gross margins.

7. Supply and demand rationalization. The poly suppliers have been operating at reduced utilization since 2H’12.

8. Evolution of PV technology roadmaps. Strong marketshare gains from standard c-Si multi ingot/wafers. The end-markets are driving module efficiencies and power ratings. The alternative growth methods have not gained traction and are being phased out.

9. Capital expenditure cyclic patterns. The PV process equipment suppliers have been impacted severely by overcapacity and overinvestments of 2010 and 2011. There is a strong chance that 2014 will end up as low as 2013. Also, technology-buy cycles don’t exist as yet in the PV industry.

10. Domestic protectionism counter measures. The effects of trade wars may yet have a profound effect on the PV industry into 2014. There will be direct effect of global overinvestment into domestic manufacturing. The other countries have an impact, but China and Europe decisions are key.

In summary, the PV industry is a 30-GW end-market today, and is forecast to grow to the 40-GW level in 2015. Europe demand is declining, but greater number of countries/territories expected to provide new PV demand. Demand in China during 2013 is essential for local suppliers.

The PV industry is capable of producing 12-15 GW per quarter. Supply and demand need a 40-GW+ market to balance. The shakeout phase is proceeding slowly, and will continue for the next two years. Reducing costs are not yet keeping up with price declines. ASP and ISP stabilization period is needed badly.

The end-market demand has become dependent on low ISPs. Also, multi c-Si based modules are dominating the industry. PV equipment suppliers are unlikely to see meaningful new order intake until 2014 or beyond. Finally, trade wars and domestic protectionism measures are crucially dependent on the EU and China decisions in 2013.

Round-up 2012: Best of electronics, semiconductors and solar

December 31, 2012 2 comments

Friends, here is the round-up of 2012, where the best of electronics, semiconductors and solar PV are presented. Best wishes for a very happy and prosperous new year! :)

Also, a word on the horrendous Delhi rape that has shaken up India. I am ashamed to be a man and a part of India’s society. My family and I are extremely sorry that the brave girl is no more! May her soul rest in peace. May God deliver justice, and quickly!

DECEMBER 2012
Opportunities in turbulent PV equipment market

Global semiconductor industry outlook 2013: Jaswinder Ahuja, Cadence

Next wave of design challenges, and future growth of EDA: Dr. Wally Rhines

Global medical image sensors market to grow 64 percent by 2017

Status of power semiconductor devices industry

NOVEMBER 2012
Global solar PV industry to remain under pressure in 2013!

Dr. Wally Rhines on global semiconductor industry outlook 2013

Focus on monolithic 3D-ICs paradigm shift for semicon industry

Xilinx announces 20nm portfolio strategy

Elliptic intros world’s first commercial touchless gesturing technology!

Global semiconductor industry outlook 2013: Analog Devices

IMEC’s 450mm R&D initiative for nanoelectronics ecosystem

OCTOBER 2012
III-V high mobility semiconductors for advanced CMOS apps

Yet another electronics policy for India?

IEF 2012: Turning recession into opportunity!

Global semicon sales to drop 1.7 percent in 2012?

Virtual prototyping ready for masses

MEMS to be $21 billion market by 2017: Yole

TSMC on 450mm transition: Lithography key!

SEPTEMBER 2012
Cadence Allegro 16.6 accelerates timing closure

Dr. Wally Rhines on global EDA industry

Solarcon India 2012: Solar industry in third wave!

AUGUST 2012
Apple wins big vs. Samsung in patent war!

Can being fabless and M-SIPS take India to top?

JULY 2012
Is Europe ready for 450mm fabs?

APRIL 2012
Xilinx intros Vivado Design Suite

MARCH 2012
Cadence releases latest Encounter RTL-to-GDSII flow

WLCSP market and industrial trends

FEBRUARY 2012
Top 10 semiconductor growth drivers: Intersil

Ingredients for successful fabless Indian semiconductor industry: Dr. Wally Rhines

Tariffs will slow growth in domestic demand for PV systems: The Brattle Group

Wireless leads in global semicon spends!

JANUARY 2012
India to allow imports of low-priced Chinese solar cells? Or, is it beaten?

ReneSola intros Virtus II PV modules in India

November 7, 2012 2 comments

Virtus II modules from ReneSola.

Virtus II modules from ReneSola.

ReneSola Ltd, a leading global manufacturer of solar PV modules and wafers, has introduced its new Virtus II multicrystalline modules in India. ReneSola has started providing locally produced PV modules to the Indian market and expects to provide 250 MW of India-made PV modules over a two-year period.

The India launch follows the successful introduction of the Virtus II solar modules to the US and Australian markets.

Founded in 2005, Renesola has 17 subsidiaries worldwide. Production sites located in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Sichuan, China. The supplier estimates to ship 1,550 ingots and 700 wafers during 2012, up from 1,014.1 ingots and 295,2 million wafers in 2011.

Some of Renesola’s projects include 4MW and 2MW in Slovakia, 11.5MW in Germany, 20MW in China, 9.21MW in Italy, and 27.6MW again in Germany. A couple of Renesola’s rooftop projects include 118.8KW in Slovakia, 1.95MW and 100.8KW in Greece, 1.4MW in Belgium, 12.96KW in Bulgaria, and 806.4KW in Germany.

Virtus II modules
Characteristics of the Virtus II modules include higher power output, higher performance at same cost, same LID, and same CTM cost. Virtus ingot improves the distribution of grain size and lifetime, and provides higher lifetime and lower dislocation density. The Virtus A++ wafer allows uniform grain distribution with less defects. The Virtus A++ wafer also has much lower defects.

Major defects of conventional multi‐crystalline wafers can be reduced by the innovative controlled DSS method. The Virtus I module provides better temperature coefficient of power and lower light induced degradation compared to mono modules. The Virtus II wafer increases cell efficiency due to higher lifetime, lower dislocation and uniform grain size. The Virtus II module shows better performance and the same production cost of multi-module.

Solarcon India 2012: Solar industry in third wave!

September 3, 2012 1 comment

SEMI, USA.

SEMI, USA.

There are three phases of PV industry development, including formation, regional development and globalization, according to Bettina Weiss, VP, Global PV Business Unit, SEMI, USA. She was delivering the opening keynote at the ongoing Solarcon India 2012 event in Bangalore, India. The event runs till September 5.

According to her, in the first stage, discoveries lead to inventions. Inventions find niche and high-value applications. Technology, and not manufacturing is the key driver here. For regional development, new industries seen as source for economic development. Markets develop through government subsidies. Global supply chains and regional clusters of excellence develop as well.

State of global  PV industry
The government policy support for PV has been strong till 2011. However, it may fall of during 2012-16. The supply-demand balance was generally stable till 2011, which could likely see structural overcapacity in 2012-16. The demand, which has been over 70 per cent till 2011, will likely see -20 per cent growth from 2012-16.

While there were many ‘saviour’ markets, such as Spain (2008), Italy (2010) and Germany (2009-11), Europe may prove to be not enough to absorb excess capacity in 2012-16. Poly, scale and the learning curve had been competitive till 2011, and are likely to give way to non-poly costs, technology and efficiency during 2015-16. While the gross margin was consistently above 20 per cent till now, the path to profitability remains unclear for the period 2012-16.

As for the cell and module makers performance, sharp price declines since 2011 have stimulated record installations globally. The effect on PV manufacturers have been severe. The entire supply chain has been plagued with collapsing margins.

Revenue to shipment ratio declined for five consecutive quarter since Q1 ’11. The list of insolvencies keeps growing. The outlook for 2012 is that volume/shipment upside is likely, but the path to profitability is still unclear.

Then, there is the ongoing solar trade war!

The US Department of Commerce (DOC) levied anti-dumping tariffs against Chinese solar module imports, with tariffs ranging from 31 per cent to 250 per cent. In response to the US tariffs, China’s Ministry of Commerce, on July 21, 2012, announced that it will start its own AD and CVD investigation on imported solar-grade polysilicon from US, and is initiating an AD investigation on these imports from South Korea. The EU Commission will decide by mid-September whether to accept a similar complaint and launch an investigation.
Read more…

Tariffs will slow growth in domestic demand for PV systems: The Brattle Group

February 2, 2012 2 comments

Recently, The Brattle Group came out with its report titled “The Employment Impacts of Proposed Tariffs on Chinese Manufactured Photovoltaic Cells and Modules”. Here are excerpts from the report.

At the request of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), The Brattle Group has studied the employment impacts of a proposed trade restriction on Chinese-manufactured crystalline photovoltaic cells and modules.

This topic is timely, because the US Department of Commerce (DOC) is currently reviewing a petition that would lead to substantial tariffs on Chinese-produced photovoltaic cells and modules. Petitioners have requested tariffs up to 250 percent on Chinese-manufactured products in response to alleged government subsidies and below cost pricing.

In brief, we estimate that tariffs will slow the growth in domestic demand for photovoltaic systems by homeowners, commercial establishments and utilities, resulting in substantial job losses. We estimate jobs at risk under two tariff levels – 50 percent or 100 percent.

We find that a 50 percent tariff will shut the vast majority of Chinese imports out of the US market, and a 100 percent tariff will effectively block them altogether. We also estimate employment impacts accounting for two scenarios, a low scenario which assumes low demand elasticity and high supply elasticity, and a high scenario which reflects a high demand elasticity and a low supply elasticity. Read more…

Solar installations: How long will boom last?


Henning Wicht.

Henning Wicht.

Dr. Henning Wicht, senior director and principal analyst, PV, IHS iSuppli Corp., presented a paper at PV Taiwan 2011. Let’s take a look at how long is the boom in solar installations likely to last!

According to Dr. Wicht, the solar market is forecasted to reach 21.9 GW in 2011. In 2011, global installations will record again and reach 21.9 GW. Germany and Italy will remain the leading markets. The USA and China are growing strongly. Worldwide PV installation forecast, updated May 20, 2011 is currently at around 25 percent. It will then likely dip to -10 percent in 2012, before finally moving up to 32-33 percent in 2015. The upside potential of 6.5 GW in 2012 may result in 27 GW of installations.

Installations in 2012 are forecasted at 20.5 GW (-11 percent). However, historically the photovoltaic market never declined. Even in 2009, the most challenging year, the market grew by 33 percent. Can it repeat again?

In that case, what’s the situation in the world right now?

He replied: “In China, the support of domestic supplier industry will be the driver, while there will be expansion of solar subsidy programs. The forecast for 2012 is 2.4GW and the upside potential for 2012 is 1 GW. Germany will see pro REE politics. There will be re-opening of the ground installation market segment; and lifting of installation target to 5 GW, the upper edge of the target corridor. The 2012 forecast is 5 GW and the upside potential for 2012 is 1 GW. Italy will also see pro REE politics. There will likely be a target corridor of 2-3 GW. The 2012 forecast is 2.5 GW and the upside potential is 2 GW.”

Also, Japan will see pro REE politics. There will be an expansion of solar subsidy programs. The 2012 forecast is 1.6 GW and the upside potential is 1 GW. The rest of the world (RoW) will see an enhanced support of REE at the expense of nuclear energy. There will also be implementation of incentives and funding for solar. The 2012 forecast is 9 GW and the upside potential is 1.5 GW. In total, the realistic upside potential (50 percent) is estimated at 24 GW for 2012, and the total upside potential is estimated at 27 GW.

“Now, if we re-look at the global PV installation forecast, it is likely to be 21.9 GW in 2011, 24.17 GW in 2012, 28.23 GW in 2013, 32.3 GW in 2014 and 43.05 GW in 2015. In 2011, the installations in Europe will reach 63 percent, but will decrease to 33 percent in 2015.”

Let’s have a look at the emerging  solar/PV market situation at the moment. According to Wicht, the solar emerging markets in 2014 include: Americas at 1,300 MW, Europe/Middle East at 2,150 MW, Africa at 950 MW, Asia 3,440 MW and Australia 775 MW.

So, where are prices going for modules, cells, wafers and poly? He said: “First, module prices will not stop falling. At the end of Q3 2011, modules are offered at 0.8€/W (factory gate). The residential systems are priced at 2.0€/W in Germany.”

The year end 2011 forecast, as of July 2011 shows the silicon (spot) price at $50-55/kg, wafer at $0.54/Wp (multi), cell at $0.80/Wp (for tier 2 players) and module at EUR 0.85/Wp (multi, top 10 players). The year end 2011 forecast, as of Sept. 2011 will show silicon (spot) price at $48-55/kg, wafer at $0.43~0.48/Wp (multi), cell at $0.72/Wp (for tier 2 players) and module: at EUR 0.80/Wp (top 10 players). Currently, the most profitable segments of the value chain lies at the tail ends in polysilicon and in the balance of system/inverter. Read more…

Round-up 2010: Best of solar photovoltaics

December 30, 2010 2 comments

Solar photovoltaics (PV) constantly reminds me of the early days of the telecom industry. Perhaps, the similarity lies in practically anyone and everyone wants to enter the solar/PV industry as well, just like it happened in telecom — before the industry consolidation started to happen.

In India, a lot more talk has happened since the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JN-NSM) was unveiled. With 2010 now drawing to an end, here’s presenting the top posts for solar PV from the year that is about to leave all of us!

Want to enter solar off-grid business? Build your own solar LED lanterns and emergency lights! — This was a smashing superhit! So many folks have accessed this post and quite a few commented! Definitely, my no. 1 post for the year and among my top 10 posts for 2010!

Union budget 2010: Solar, UIDs all the way!

NI DAQ workshop: Sun tracker suitable for Indian (and global) solar/PV industry

India to miss NSM target? No, it’s likely a mistake (in reporting)! – The faux pas of the year! ;)

SEMI India benchmarks India’s NSM on global FIT best practices — Goes on to show why SEMI continues to be a top notch industry association!

RoseStreet Labs develops breakthrough multiband solar cell technology! — I enjoyed writing this post a lot!

Solar PV heats up in India — NVVN signs MoU with 16 developers; new guidelines for solar projects — First clear signs that India is indeed hot, as a solar market.

Unique solution required for grid-tie inverters in India!

Solarcon India 2010: Timely implementation of phase 1 critical to success of JN-NSM

Need to develop indigenous manufacturing capacity in solar: Deepak Gupta

Is there a case for polysilicon manufacturing in India?

India has bright future in solar PV, other RE: Stan Meyers, SEMI

Pressing need to address solar project financing in India: D. Majumdar, IREDA

TÜV Rheinland opens South Asia’s largest PV testing lab in Bangalore

Need to look at smart grid standards from an Indian context: Venkat Rajaraman, Su-Kam

Bluetooth set as short range wireless standard for smart energy! — This should be interesting, as and when it happens!

Top 15 producers of c-Si and thin film solar PV modules, and outlook 2011

There’s more to come in the new year, now that NVVN has released a list of projects under the JN-NSM. I am more keen to see how JN-NSM takes off in the new year, and am sure, so are you!

Here’s wishing everyone a very happy, joyous and prosperous 2011! :)

Top 15 producers of c-Si and thin film solar PV modules, and outlook 2011

December 21, 2010 8 comments

Fig. 1: Top 15 global crystalline module producers. Source: iSuppli, USA.

Fig. 1: Top 15 global crystalline module producers. Source: iSuppli, USA.

I am extremely grateful to Stefan de Haan, senior analyst, Photovoltaics, iSuppli Corp., for sharing with me the top 15 global producers of c-Si and thin film solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, respectively during Q3 2010.

First, the top 15 global crystalline module producers (see Fig. 1) — who are the standout performers and why?

He said: “It is still the Chinese integrated suppliers, above all Trina and Yingli. They benefit from a highly competitive cost structure. However, this need not be the most successful business model in future. With increasing cell and module efficiencies, and an increasing need for full automization, European and Japanese companies may gain ground again.”

Now, on to the top 15 global thin film module producers (see Fig. 2)– who are the standout performers here!

Fig. 2: Top 15 global thin film module producers. Source: iSuppli, USA.

Fig. 2: Top 15 global thin film module producers. Source: iSuppli, USA.

de Haan added: “Still, it is First Solar, the company with lowest production cost in the industry and the biggest module producer. CIGS is upcoming, in particular. Solar Frontier also has to be watched.”

Global PV installations to grow significantly in 2011
It is said that global PV installation will likely witness moderate growth in 2011, and that, concerns of oversupply remain. de Haan agrees only partly.

He said: “Global PV installations will again grow significantly in 2011 (2010: 16 GW and 2011:  22.2 GW). Oversupply will not be dramatic in 2011, but in 2012 and 2013.”

Further, if the pressure from decreasing solar cell price continues to increase, will solar cell makers be forced to reduce prices of wafers and poly-Si to reflect costs? According to Stefan de Haan, prices will drop across the entire solar value chain in 2011! Read more…

Solar PV likely showstopper at electronica India 2010 and productronica India 2010


Don’t be surprised that given the major strides undertaken by India in solar PV,  this industry and its pavilion could well turn out to be the showstopper or the lead attraction, besides LEDs and other electronic components, at the upcoming electronica India 2010 and productronica India 2010 – which will be held in the sprawling Bangalore International Exhibition Center on Sept. 7-10.

For those interested, since its debut in 2009, this show has been split into two sections – productronica India — devoted to production technologies, SMT and EMS/contract manufacturers, PCB, solar and PV, laser, etc., and electronica India – focused on components, semiconductors, assemblies, LEDs and materials.This year, there are going to be three added attractions or special exhibit areas, namely:

* Solar pavilion.
* LED pavilion.
* Laser pavilion.

Solar PV main attraction
A report on the ‘Solar PV Industry 2010: Contemporary Scenario and Emerging Trends’ released by the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) with the support of the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA), lays out the strengths and challenges of the Indian solar PV market:

* Even though the industry operates at a smaller scale as compared to other solar PV producing nations, production in India is very cost effective as compared to global standards.

* With Government initiatives such as the SIPS scheme and JN-NSM in place to promote application of solar PV in domestic market, the Indian solar PV industry is likely to gain further edge over other solar PV producing nations.

* There is no manufacturing base in India for the basic raw material, that is, silicon wafers.

* Over the last five years, China has emerged as the largest producer of solar cells in the world. The country currently has about 2,500 MW of production capacity for solar PV as compared to India’s 400 MW.  Taiwan, with annual capacity of 800 MW, is also emerging as a major threat to the Indian industry.

* Price reduction is another major challenge for the industry as this would have greatly impact the future growth of the market.

The recently concluded Solarcon India 2010 threw up several interesting points as well. Industry observers agreed that the timely implementation of phase 1 of the historic Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JN-NSM) is going to be critical for the success of this Mission.

The MNRE stressed on the need to develop an indigenous solar PV manufacturing capacity in solar, and build a service infrastructure. Strong emphasis is also being placed on R&D, and quite rightly. Notably, the Indian government is working toward tackling issues involved with project financing as well.

All the right steps and noises are currently being taken and made in the Indian solar PV industry. If these weren’t enough, the TÜV Rheinland recently opened South Asia’s largest PV testing lab in Bangalore!

This year, an exhibitor forum on PV and solar will also take place at the Solar PV pavilion during  electronica India 2010 and productronica India 2010.
Read more…

TÜV Rheinland opens South Asia’s largest PV testing lab in Bangalore


TÜV Rheinland has opened India’s first and South Asia’s largest photovoltaics (PV) testing lab in Bangalore, India.

Just last week, Deepak Gupta, secretary, MNRE, had mentioned during his valedictory address at Solarcon India 2010 that an international lab was due to start a facility in Bangalore, and here you go! But first, a bit on TÜV Rheinland.

TÜV Rheinland has the expertise of testing PV modules, having been in the solar business for over 30 years. It has a market share  over 70 percent, and has seven PV labs spread across Germany, China, Taiwan, the US, Japan (two labs), and now, India. Its testing focus is on safety, efficiency, quality and durability of solar systems.

According to the TÜV Rheinland official, the total global investment in solar PV reached a record $40 billion in 2009. The PV cells production capacity is likely to exceed 33GW in 2011. Most importantly, 78 percent of manufacturers will be located in Asia. Further, the installed capacity of global solar panels is likely to reach 33.4 thousand MW by 2015.

Business prospects in India

TÜV Rheinland is well focused on the Indian solar PV market.

TÜV Rheinland is well focused on the Indian solar PV market.

TÜV Rheinland obviously has been closely following the Indian solar PV market. India boasts of over 250 clear sunny days in year. Also, India’s solar potential is estimated at 600 TW per year. The PV industry output between 2002 and 2007 was said to 335 MW, with an export rate of 75 percent.

Coming to well known Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JN-NSM), the Indian solar PV industry is estimated to grow to 100 GW by 2030. Also, 5 percent of the total power plant area will be used for PV power plants. The Indian government is promoting roof top solar generation.

TÜV Rheinland’s test laboratory in Electronics City, Bangalore, is spread over an area of 20,000sqft., including 5,000sqft. outside exposure testing area. It has invested close to $3 million in setting up the lab, thereby indicating a very deep interest in developing the Indian solar PV industry.

This PV test lab in Bangalore also happens to be India’s first and South Asia’s largest such facility. It has some unique facilities such as five climatic chambers and two sun simulators. With the inauguration of this facility, the availability of local testing and certification will now plug a key gap for the Indian industry.

TÜV Rheinland is offering the following PV services in India – PV module testing, PV module certification, PV power plants, conventional power projects, welding and non-destructive testing, installations, material tests and third party inspections. For the statistical minded, 70 percent of PV modules go through one of the TUV Rheinland labs worldwide.

The group’s global management is well focused on the Indian market and this PV test lab is a reiteration of an ongoing, long-term commitment to India.

Friedrich Hecker, CEO, TÜV Rheinland AG, said: “With the ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission being operationalized, India is poised to take a huge leap in solar/PV. Module manufacturing, a key component of the chain, is largely domestically manufactured and offers a great export potential as well.

“The setting up of the PV lab by us today in Bangalore not only addresses the lack of such a facility in India but actually enables Indian module manufacturers to eye markets beyond India. India has always been a key strategic market for the group and all our different business units and this marks another step forward in that commitment.”

Andreas Höfer, chief regional officer, TÜV Rheinland (India, Middle East and Africa), said, “With abundant sunshine and high quality of radiation levels combined with focus on both grid and off grid applications, there is every possibility that India will be the market to watch out for in the region. We see a lot of overseas players investing here and setting up facilities or licensing technology for local players to manufacture with. In that way, both our entry and the setting up of this lab is timed well.”

Enrico Rühle, MD, TÜV Rheinland India, added: ”The Indian PV lab will be tightly interlinked to the other six laboratories across the world and will employ over 200 experts across functions. The lab which has facilities unheard of in the region like climate chambers and sun simulators will reduce the time for testing for Indian manufacturers.”

TÜV Rheinland India is part of the TÜV Rheinland Group, a leading provider of technical services worldwide. Read more…

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