PV Manufacturing

CEA-INES develops 18.95%-efficient flexible perovskite solar panels


French researchers have developed PV modules with an area of 11.6 square centimeters for indoor applications. They said the achieved efficiency level marks a world record for a flexible perovskite device larger than 10 square centimeters.

From pv magazine France

Researchers at France’s National Solar Energy Institute (INES) – a division of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) – have developed new flexible perovskite solar modules.

They have a surface area of 11.6 square centimeters, with a maximum power conversion efficiency of 18.95% and a stabilized efficiency of more than 18.5%. INES said the performance is a world record for a flexible perovskite device larger than 10 square centimeters.

Currently, the power conversion efficiencies of solar devices based on perovskites indeed exceed 25% for single junctions and 29% in tandem structures with silicon. However, these results are obtained on small surfaces, of the order of 1 square centimeters.

To obtain this yield on larger surfaces, INES developed the flexible perovskite solar modules at low temperature on low-cost substrates made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). They used a very simple structure featuring five layers, including the electrodes.

The performance is obtained after encapsulation and the stability of the devices has been tested under damp heat conditions at 85 C, according to the standards used for silicon-based technologies. A stability of several hundred hours has been obtained – between 400 and 800 hours, depending on encapsulation – based on a standard objective of 1,000 hours.

To achieve this result, the CEA optimized the stacking of the layers of the cell to implement a three-step laser process for the production of the module. It also developed a flexible encapsulation process that is fully compatible with high gas barrier materials, with no initial loss.

The CEA’s devices will be integrated into a demonstrator for building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) applications by Flexbrick (Es), a member of the European consortium. The modules will be interconnected to obtain high voltages and will be tested according to building standards. In addition, stability tests in real conditions are currently being carried out.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE) in Germany, a project partner, is testing the panels for indoor applications. The tests have already shown power conversion efficiencies of up to 24.5% at very low light (500 lux).

For some applications, the use of flexible substrates could be of interest for single-junction perovskite technology, because it could open the way to high-speed and low-temperature printing processes. It therefore becomes possible to use low-cost substrates unlike flexible inorganic technologies, such as CIGS, which require higher temperature processes and more expensive substrates.

Many teams around the world are trying to meet the challenges of making larger devices with sufficient stability for real-world applications. This is one of the tasks set by the partners of the European APOLO project.

Author: Gwénaëlle Deboutte

RETC releases 2022 Module Index Report

Image: RETC

The Renewable Energy Test Center has released a new report on PV module performance.

From pv magazine USA

The Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC) has released its “2022 PV Module Index” (PVMI) report, highlighting module performance across a variety of lab tests, while also providing industry-cited clarifications on the real-world significance of the results.

The 2022 PVMI marks the first edition released since VDE acquired a 70% stake in RECT. President and CEO Cherif Kedir said the move will allow RETC to expand its testing services to a broader network of manufacturers, investors, insurers and developers, all in pursuit of minimizing risk and uncertainty in favor of long-term reliability, sustainability and profitability by designing better data-driven risk mitigation programs and service products.

RETC Vice President of Business Development Daniel Chang told pv magazine the 2022 PVMI takes a more forward-looking approach than previous editions, supplementing testing results and hardware performance with emerging industry trends that are going to guide the use of this hardware and investments in projects that utilize it into 2023 and beyond.

Cherif Kedir, President and CEO of RETC

“We focus on what we think are going to be topics that are going to be relevant for the upcoming year, like the onset of N-Type modules, and field services,” explained Chang. “There are a lot of installations out there degrading at a faster pace than expected. These installations are investments in assets made by banks to yield some sort of financial benefit to them, right? If they have some sort of degradation, then that’s not performing the way that was expected and planned for.”

Specifically, RETC is interested in forensic analysis of PV systems to determine the root causes of underperformance. This investigation is the culmination of different analyses to be done over the life of a project, starting with a baseline third-party module health assessment during project commissioning.

In instances of underperformance, RETC recommends Electroluminescence (EL) testing. EL testing uses a special camera system to document the light emissions that occur when an electrical current passes through PV cells. The technology has long been used in labs to detect a wide range of hidden module defects.

Another aspect of forensic analysis is predictive maintenance, wherein a third party inspects plants from periodically to detect issues that may not be visible at a base overview, but could develop into much larger issues if allowed to linger.

While Chang brought to light the ongoing issue of degradation and the developing need for advanced field services, Kedir focused more on the technology side, researching where the next wave of module innovation will come in a post-large-format world.

Panasonic Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin Layer (HIT) solar cell

That innovation, he thinks, will come from heterojunction n-type modules (HJT).

“I think leading manufacturers are kind of a crossroad point right now, in terms of how to get more power out of modules without making the modules just unreasonably large, because they’re already pretty damn big,” Kedir said. “The other reason I think manufacturers may be hesitant to make their modules larger is that everybody is testing the waters with heterojunction cells, so that they can eke out more more watts per module, without having to increase the size. With the module technologies they currently have, I don’t think they’re able to get a lot more efficiency out of the cell, so they’re trying to figure out how to get more power without increasing the module size, and the next, the next logical thing is to go to different technologies, Topcon and heterojunction.”

In an op-ed for pv magazine in November 2021, Nadeem Haque – chief technology officer at Heliene – outlined some of the distinct technology advantages that HJT presents. HJT cell manufacturing involves the deposition of an amorphous layer of silicon on both the top and bottom of the wafer followed by a transparent conducting oxide deposition and making of metal contacts.

HJT cell production lines are currently expensive, almost prohibitively so, and new lines need to be built. The cells require a more expensive metallization paste to manufacture. HJT cells are by nature bifacial, with bifaciality rates above 90%, the highest of any cell technology. Higher bifaciality and lower temperature coefficients result in higher energy output, and HJT cells in mass production are expected to reach about 27% efficiency.

“You can gauge where the industry is going based on where investment money is going, and we hear a lot about companies investing money in heterojunction cell lines in Asia, so I think that’s probably going to be a trend,” said Kedir.

The last industry trend examined by RETC is mitigating the effects of extreme weather on PV systems, a topic which pv magazine has reported on extensively with RETC and other partners, like VDE Americas.

Module index

The core of the report is a review of modules’ performance across a range of tests that are designed to go beyond the parameters of tests for certification and accurately project what each module’s strengths are, rather than compare and rank them against one another.

The tests are split up into three categories, each of which analyzes a different aspect of module excellence: quality indicators, performance indicators, and reliability indicators. In testing, the researchers at RETC noticed a new trend that some of the performance and reliability gaps from manufacturer to manufacturer have widened, as opposed to the narrowing they observed in recent years.

“Some of the issues that we saw over the last year have been related to manufacturers faced with their own supply chain issues and inability to get their raw materials,” explained Kedir. “They’ve had to go to other sources, secondary and tertiary sources of cells and backsheets, and then that triggered a few failures, we saw more of them last year. What’s been lingering is potential-induced degradation (PID) and some related performance stuff. On cells, PID, for all intents and purposes, had been completely solved a few years ago, but then it reappeared throughout the pandemic, with the supply chain issues, we see some of that leftover.”

This is a phenomenon that Kedir expects to see continue, at least in the short term. The issue may linger as a result of the recently-announced two year moratorium on the DOC’s anticircumvention case, he said.

“Demand is going to is going to pick up in the US,” he began. “The upcoming traceability requirements are going to put a constraint on the cell supply from forced labor regions, which means you’re not going to have enough cell supply for them for the market demands. This causes supply separation between manufacturers. Some larger manufacturers have already completely mitigated that issue, developed a new supply chain for polycrystal, and have new cell lines in Southeast Asia. Those guys are going to fare out much better than a manufacturer who hasn’t put in that infrastructure already. They’re going to have to try to source cells from other places or other manufacturers that may or may not be as good as their initial supply.”

While the gap between top-tier, established module manufacturers and some newer market entrants is widening, RETC still had a number of manufacturers perform well across their litany of tests.

Based on available testing data, RETC highlighted Hanwha Q CELLS, JA Solar, and LONGi Solar as the overall top three performers of the year. The recognition does not stop with the top performers, however, and RETC listed some of the manufacturers who scored the highest marks in individual tests, listed below.

Hail durability:

  • LONGi Solar

Thresher test:

  • Hanwha Q CELLS
  • JA Solar
  • LONGi Solar
  • Tesla

LeTID resistance:

  • Hanwha Q CELLS
  • Jinko Solar
  • LONGi Solar
  • Trina Solar

LID resistance:

  • Hanwha Q CELLS
  • JA Solar
  • Jinko Solar
  • LONGi Solar
  • Trina Solar

Module efficiency:

  • JA Solar
  • LONGi Solar
  • REC Solar
  • Silfab Solar
  • Tesla
  • Yingli Solar

Pan file performance:

  • JA Solar
  • Jinko Solar
  • LONGi Solar
  • Trina Solar

PTC-to-STC ratio

  • Hanwha Q CELLS
  • JA Solar
  • REC Solar
  • Silfab Solar
  • Tesla
  • Yingli Solar

Damp heat test

  • JA Solar
  • LONGi Solar
  • Hanwha Q CELLS
  • Tesla

Dynamic mechanical load test:

  • JA Solar
  • Jinko Solar
  • LONGi Solar

PID resistance:

  • JA Solar
  • Jinko Solar
  • LONGi Solar

Thermal cycle test:

  • Hanwha Q CELLS
  • JA Solar
  • Jinko Solar
  • LONGi Solar
  • Tesla

RETC said the rankings are comprehensive only to data that the company has collected, so modules from other manufacturers could perform similarly to the ones listed above, but the organization cannot make an overall determination regarding high achievement in manufacturing without module tests data across the three categories.

The report concludes with a look at a number of notable changes and revisions anticipated in the upcoming edition of IEC 61730, a two-part standard pertaining to PV module safety qualification, as well as upcoming updates to IEC TS 62915, a technical specification pertaining to PV module approval, design and safety qualification.

The standards analysis is expansive, and pv magazine will cover these pending changes in a follow-up to this article.

Author: Tim Sylvia

Solar window generates electricity, thermal energy

Image: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Advanced Science, Creative Commons License CC BY 4.0

A research team in Hong Kong has built a solar window that can generate power on the external side via a luminescent solar concentrator and thermal energy on the internal side via transparent solar absorbers.

From pv magazine

Scientists from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have developed a dual-band selective solar harvesting (SSH) window based on transparent photovoltaics (TPVs) and transparent solar absorbers (TSAs). The TSAs are used to convert ultraviolet (UV) or near-infrared (NIR) light by converting it into thermal energy.

“The harvested thermal energy is extracted by ventilated air to provide indoor space heating in cold seasons or abate indoor cooling loading in hot seasons,” they explained. “We demonstrated that the SSH window has a visible transmittance of 42%, achieves a solar-electricity conversion efficiency of 0.75%, and a solar-thermal conversion efficiency of 24% with a ventilated air temperature rise of 10 C.”

The research group used a luminescent solar concentrator (TPV) based on copper indium sulfide and zinc sulfide (CuInS2/ZnS) quantum dots (QDs) as the exterior window. It is able to collect UV light and convey it to opaque PV devices that are located at the edge of the transparent substrate for electricity generation. The TSAs were instead used to fabricate the interior side of the window where heat is produced and collected.

“The thermal energy is mostly extracted by the ventilated air within the gap for various purposes such as indoor space heating in cold seasons,” the group said.

The academics fabricated a prototype measuring 30 cm x 30 cm x 2.4 cm by assembling the TPV elements with the TSAs on the interior side. They claim the device showed a substantial visible transmittance and that it was able to generate 6 W per square meter of power and the thermal power of around 150 W per square meter.

“Thermal power is 25 times of the generated electrical power, suggesting that the harvesting thermal power is of primary importance for building-integrated solar energy harvesting windows,” they said. “With thermal energy harvesting by air ventilation, the total effective efficiency was estimated over 30% at a typical operating condition for building space heating applications.”

They presented their findings in “Selective Solar Harvesting Windows for Full-Spectrum Utilization,” which was recently published in Advanced Science.

“The SSH window can save the annual heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) energy consumption by up to 61.5% compared with the normal glass, in addition to the generated electricity that accounts for up to 19.1% of the annual energy saving amount,” they said.

Author: Emiliano Bellini

Solar panels based on biosourced materials

A recycled glass panel on the front and a linen composite on the back. Image: GD

French solar energy institute INES has developed new PV modules with thermoplastics and natural fibers sourced in Europe, such as flax and basalt. The scientists aim to reduce the environmental footprint and weight of solar panels, while improving recycling.

From pv magazine France

Researchers at France’s National Solar Energy Institute (INES) – a division of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) – are developing solar modules featuring new bio-based materials in the front and rear sides.

“As the carbon footprint and the life cycle analysis have now become essential criteria in the choice of photovoltaic panels, the sourcing of materials will become a crucial element in Europe in the next few years,” said Anis Fouini, the director of CEA-INES, in an interview with pv magazine France.

Aude Derrier, the research project’s coordinator, said her colleagues have looked at the various materials that already exist, to find one that could allow module manufacturers to produce panels that improve performance, durability, and cost, while lowering the environmental impact. The first demonstrator consists of heterojunction (HTJ) solar cells integrated into an all-composite material.

“The front side is made of a fiberglass-filled polymer, which provides transparency,” Derrier said. “The rear side is made of composite based on thermoplastics in which a weaving of two fibers, flax and basalt, has been integrated, which will provide mechanical strength, but also better resistance to humidity.”

The flax is sourced from northern France, where the entire industrial ecosystem is already present. The basalt is sourced elsewhere in Europe and is woven by an industrial partner of INES. This reduced the carbon footprint by 75 grams of CO2 per watt, compared to a reference module of the same power. The weight was also optimized and is less than 5 kilograms per square meter.

“This module is aimed at the rooftop PV and building integration,” said Derrier. “The advantage is that it is naturally black in color, without the need for a backsheet. In terms of recycling, thanks to thermoplastics, which can be remelted, the separation of the layers is also technically simpler.”

The module can be made without adapting current processes. Derrier said the idea is to transfer the technology to manufacturers, without additional investment.

“The only imperative is to have freezers to store the material and not to start the resin cross-linking process, but most manufacturers today use prepreg and are already equipped for this,” she said.

The INES scientists also looked into the solar glass supply issues encountered by all photovoltaic players and worked on the reuse of tempered glass.

“We worked on the second life of glass and developed a module made up of reused 2.8 mm glass that comes from an old module,” said Derrier. “We have also used a thermoplastic encapsulant which does not require cross-linking, which will therefore be easy to recycle, and a thermoplastic composite with flax fiber for resistance.”

The basalt-free rear face of the module has a natural linen color, which could be aesthetically interesting for architects in terms of facade integration, for example. In addition, the INES calculation tool showed a 10% reduction in the carbon footprint.

“It is now imperative to question the photovoltaic supply chains,” said Jouini. “With the help of the Rhône-Alpes region within the framework of the International Development Plan, we therefore went looking for players outside the solar sector to find new thermoplastics and new fibers. We also thought about the current lamination process, which is very energy intensive.”

Between the pressurization, the pressing and the cooling phase, the lamination usually lasts between 30 and 35 minutes, with an operating temperature of around 150 C to 160 C.

“But for modules that increasingly incorporate eco-designed materials, it is necessary to transform thermoplastics at around 200 C to 250 C, knowing that HTJ technology is sensitive to heat and must not exceed 200 C,” said Derrier.

The research institute is teaming up with France-based induction thermocompression specialist Roctool, to reduce cycle times and make shapes according to the needs of customers. Together, they have developed a module with a rear face made of polypropylene-type thermoplastic composite, to which recycled carbon fibers have been integrated. The front side is made of thermoplastics and fiberglass.

“Roctool’s induction thermocompression process makes it possible to heat the two front and rear plates quickly, without having to reach 200 C at the core of the HTJ cells,” Derrier said.

The company claims the investment is lower and the process could achieve a cycle time of just a few minutes, while using less energy. The technology is aimed at composite manufacturers, to give them the possibility of producing parts of different shapes and sizes, while integrating lighter and more durable materials.

Authors: Gwénaëlle Deboutte and Marie Beyer

Solar cell efficiencies at a glance – updated

A heterojunction solar cell made by the University of New South Wales. Image: University of New South Wales

A research group led by Professor Martin Green has published Version 60 of the Solar cell efficiency tables.

From pv magazine

An international research group led by Professor Martin Green from the University of New South Wales in Australia has published Version 60 of “Solar cell efficiency tables” in Progress in Photovoltaics.

The scientists said they have added 15  new results to the new version of the tables since January. They also noted that an appendix describes new approaches and terminology.

Since 1993, when the tables were first published, the research group has seen major improvements in all cell categories.

“Copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) and multijunction cells have seen the most consistent gains, although perovskites have recently seen similar overall gains compressed into a shorter timescale,” Green told pv magazine in an interview last year.

He said that the most important factor for inclusion in the tables is that all results should be independently measured at test centers on the group’s list.

“All of our recognized test centers are carefully vetted prior to inclusion on our list and have been involved in round-robin testing with one another, ensuring consistency of measurements to well within the uncertainty estimates included with the published results,” said Green.

The research group includes scientists from the European Commission Joint Research Centre, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, the US Department of Energy, and the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Author: Emiliano Bellini

Chinese PV Industry Brief: 1 GW TOPCon module supply order for JinkoSolar

Image: JinkoSolar

JinkoSolar has scored a 1 GW PV panel order in China and Risen suspended a $758 million private placement of shares.

From pv magazine

Module maker JinkoSolar announced this week it secured a solar module supply agreement from Chinese property development company Datang Group. The order relates to the supply of 1 GW of n-type TOPCon bifacial modules with a power output of up to 560 W for use in large scale projects.

Module manufacturer Risen said on Thursday that its CNY 5 billion ($758 million) private placement of shares has been suspended for a month. The net proceeds from the transaction should be devoted to the construction of a new solar module factory that still needs to get final approval from the China National Development and Reform Committee (NDRC).

China’s Shandong Province announced this week that its fourteenth five-year plan spanning 2021 to 2025 envisages deploying at least 65 GW of PV capacity by the end of 2025, including at least 12 GW of offshore PV for which a specific tender was issued last month. The provincial authorities have already identified 10 offshore sites along Shandong’s coast where the projects could be constructed. Binzhou, Dongying, Weifang, Yantai, Weihai and Qingdao are some of the preferred areas.

Shunfeng International’s proposed sale of four solar projects has collapsed. The heavily-indebted developer announced in January plans to sell 132 MW of solar generation capacity to state-owned entity State Power Investment Group Xinjiang Energy and Chemical Co Ltd to raise CNY 890 million ($134 million). After postponing four times publication of details of the shareholder vote required to approve the sale, Shunfeng this week said the deal had fallen through. The transaction was complicated by the Changzhou Intermediate People’s Court of Jiangsu Province in April, which granted a freezing order on the 95% stake in one of the solar project companies held by a Shunfeng subsidiary. The order was granted at the request of two investors in a 2015 Shunfeng bond who claim money is owed them by the developer. “The board will explore other opportunities to dispose of … some or all of the target companies in order to improve the financial position of the company,” Shunfeng told the Hong Kong Stock Exchange this week.

Author: Vincent Shaw & Max Hall

REC showcases G12 residential heterojunction PV module with gapless design

The REC Alpha Pure-R Series is available in three versions. Image: REC

REC’s new heterojunction solar panel series features efficiencies of up to 22.3% and an operating temperature coefficient of -0.26% per degree Celsius.

From pv magazine

Norway-based PV module manufacturer REC has launched a residential heterojunction solar module based on 12G wafers and gapless technology at the Smarter E event in Munich, Germany. It has raised the density of the panels by eliminating the empty spaces between the cells.

“REC’s advanced gapless cell connections allow to increase power while keeping the panel compact,” the company’s head of global PR, Agnieszka Schulze, told pv magazine. “In addition, it eliminates soldering for better build quality and reduces cell stress for long-term durability.”

The REC Alpha Pure-R Series is available in three versions, with power ratings ranging from 410 W to 430 W, and efficiencies of 21.2% to 22.3%. The new product is made with 80 heterojunction, half-cut monocrystalline solar cells and its maximum system voltage is 1,000V.

The open-circuit voltage is between 55.8 V and 56.3 V and the short-circuit current ranges from 7.12 A to 7.24 A.  All three versions of the solar module measure 1,730 mm × 1,118 mm ×30 mm and weigh in at 21.5 kg.

The panel can be used with operating temperatures ranging from -40 C to 85 C and the operating temperature coefficient is -0.26% per degree Celsius. It is enclosed between 3.2 mm solar glass with anti-reflective treatment, and also features a junction box with an IP 68 rating, a black polymer backsheet, and an anodized aluminium frame.

The manufacturer offers a 20-year linear power output guarantee and a 25-year product guarantee. It said the module series is eligible for the premium REC ProTrust warranty package, which offers up to 25 years coverage on product, performance and labor, with a guaranteed power of at least 92% in year 25 of operation.

“Featuring heterojunction (HJT) cells in the large G12 format in a patented panel design, REC’s newest product delivers power output of up to 430 Wp, while keeping the module under twom² in area,” the manufacturer said in a statement. “This makes the new product ideal for residential installations where space is limited.”

The company will start production of the REC Alpha Pure-R module at its facility in Singapore in August.

“The new product will be sold in all REC markets across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific,” a company spokesperson said.

Author: Emiliano Bellini

Chinese Industry Brief: Surging solar exports, wafer supply deals

Image: Arctech

PV module exports surged in the first quarter, according to research firm PV InfoLink. Risen Energy, meanwhile, has just signed a $2.16 billion, long-term wafer supply deal with Shuangliang Eco-Energy.

From pv magazine

PV InfoLink reported last week that China exported 37.2 GW of solar panels in the first quarter. Chinese customs statistics show that it exported 9.6 GW in January, 14 GW in February, and 13.6 GW in March, up sharply from the preceding year.

Risen Energy said this week that it has signed a $2.16 billion purchasing deal with wafer supplier Shuangliang Eco-Energy, to secure 1.57 billion wafers over the next two and a half years. The wafer sizes might change in line with market requirements, said Risen.

Sunova Solar has revealed plans to release new solar panels featuring next-generation TOPCon cells at Intersolar Europe this week. The new products are based on 182 mm wafers, with N-type TOPCon cell tech and bifacial double-glass modules. The panels feature 144 cells each, with power ratings up to 575 W and module efficiencies of 22.2%.

Xinte Energy backtracked this week on plans to establish a group to serve as a corporate representative of the Chinese Communist Party, following a revolt by the holders of its Hong Kong-registered shares. The holders of 63.5% of H-shares in the TBEA-owned polysilicon maker and solar developer recently vetoed a proposal by the board to establish a “Communist Party” entity to implement strategic decisions of the party and China’s State Council. The board issued a revised set of amendments this week that did not feature the contentious article. The matter will be voted on at the next annual general meeting in Xinjiang, which has been pushed back from May 20 to May 24.

GCL New Energy will hold a vote on May 31 regarding its latest proposed project sale. It wants to sell off another 30 MW of generation capacity to state-owned Hunan Xinhua Water Conservancy and Electric Power Co. Ltd., after shifting 499 MW of solar fields to it since August 2021. The latest transfer would prompt an expected net gain of CNY 12.6 million ($1.87 million) on the book value of the projects, as part of an anticipated net windfall of CNY 143 million, which the developer said it would use to pay down debt. GCL New Energy’s liabilities could also fall by CNY 142 million if the sale is approved. The sale would leave the developer with 753 MW of solar generating capacity across 34 projects.

Authors: Vincent Shaw and Max Hall

Chinese PV Industry Brief: Zhonghuan wants to increase polysilicon capacity by 120,000 MT

Longi said the cancellation of the preferential electricity rates will increase production costs and negatively impact its profit margin. Image: Longi

In other news, Shuangliang is planning to set up 20 GW of solar module production and Longi has said higher electricity prices may have an impact on its financial results.

From pv magazine

Solar manufacturer Zhonghuan Semiconductor has signed an agreement with the government of Hohhot City, Inner Mongolia, to set up a 120,000 MT polysilicon factory. The company wants to invest CNY20.6 billion (US$3.27 billion) in the new facility. The project is currently awaiting approval from the company’s board of directors and relevant regional authorities.

PV wafer producer Shuangliang Eco-Energy announced this week it wants to enter the solar module business by setting up 20 GW of capacity. The company plans to invest CNY 5 billion ($794 million) in the new facility, which will be located at an unspecified location in Inner Mongolia. The first phase of the project should have a capacity of 5 GW and is set to be finalized by the end of 2023.

PV panel manufacturer Longi said this week it received an official notification from the provincial office of the National Development and Reform Committee (NDRC) of Yunnan Province, where some of its manufacturing facilities are located, that it will not be granted preferential electricity rates, as agreed with the provincial government before the construction of the factories. According to the notification, all the electricity Longi consumed in this province since Sept. 1, 2021, must be priced through electricity market-based transactions and directly settled with the local power grid company. Longi said the cancellation of the preferential electricity rates will increase production costs and negatively impact its profit margin.

Author: Vincent Shaw

Chinese PV Industry Brief: Tongwei deploys another 32GW of solar cell capacity

A Tongwei solar cell factory in China. Image: Tongwei

In other news, JinkoSolar secured a 1GW supply agreement with CNNC Rich Energy Corporation Limited and Yunnan Province announced a plan to deploy another 50GW of PV over the next three years.

From pv magazine

Polysilicon supplier and solar cell maker Tongwei announced on Friday that it signed an agreement with the government of Meishan City, in Sichuan Province, for the deployment of 32GW of new solar cell capacity. The company wants to invest around $1.9 billion in the capacity expansion plan that will be implemented in two 16GW phases by the end of 2023.

State-owned China Energy Engineering had 953MW of solar generation capacity last year, annual figures released on Wednesday indicated. A 413-page annual report gave details of under-construction PV projects including a 500MW, RMB1.65 billion (US$260 million) site in Shahe; a 120MWp, RMB488 million (US$76.8 million) facility in Yanchi; a 100MW, RMB423 million (US$66.6 million) plant in Hainan; a 50MW, RMB208 million (US$32.7 million) scheme in Wulan County; and two projects of unspecified scale – one of them agrivoltaic – with budgets amounting to a further RMB559 million (US$88 million). The engineer posted profits for shareholders of RMB6.5 billion ($1.02 billion) last year.

State-owned solar panel glassmaker Irico New Energy on Tuesday raised RMB9.15 million (US$1.44 million) by selling its 39% stake in quartzite mining and kyanite and silica ore processing company Hanzhong Jiarunze to the Irico Import & Export business owned by Irico Group, which is itself owned by China Electronics Corp. On Wednesday, the glassmaker published annual accounts showing PV panel products supplied RMB2.05 billion (US$323 million) of its RMB2.07 billion (US$326 million) revenue as the business posted a net profit for shareholders of RMB163 million (US$25.7 million), down from the RMB202 million (US$31.8 million) banked in 2020. With the manufacturer investing in new production lines, the company’s bank balance fell from RMB718 million (US$113 million) at the end of 2020 to RMB702 million (US$110 million); long term borrowings rose from RMB230 million (US$36.2 million) to RMB472 million (US$74.3 million); and spending on construction last year came in at RMB531 million (US$83.6 million), up from RMB368 million (US$57.9 million) a year earlier.

State-owned manufacturer Luoyang Glass said it “ignited for production” the first phase of a solar cell packaging materials manufacturing facility on Tuesday. The fab is being developed by Luoyang’s NBM (Tongcheng) New Energy Materials Company Limited unit. The China National Building Materials Group-owned business did not issue any more details about the site but did publish its 2021 results on Wednesday. The 13.6 million square meters of solar panel glass made by Luoyang last year generated RMB2.75 billion (US$433 million) of the company’s total RMB3.6 billion (US$567 million) revenue for a solar glass trade net profit of RMB220 million (US$34.6 million). Total net profits for shareholders fell, though, from RMB373 million (US$58.7 million) in 2020, to RMB265 million (US$41.7 million) last time out. That was in part down to RMB1.69 billion (US$266 million) paid out for construction last year, up from RMB238 million (US$37.5 million) in 2020, and because a debt reorganization in 2020, which brought RMB29.5 million (US$4.64 million) of benefits in that year, saved Luoyang only RMB382,000 (US$60,100) last year. Nevertheless, the glassmaker’s end-of-year cash pile sat at RMB1.12 billion (US$176 million) at the end of December, up from RMB338 million (US$53.2 million) a year earlier.

The government of Yunnan Province announced a plan to deploy another 50GW of PV over the next three years. Through the plan, the provincial government will combine solar with wind power, hydropower, coal power, and battery storage.

Solar module manufacturer JinkoSolar announced it will supply up to 1GW of its n-type Tiger Neo panels to CNNC Rich Energy Corporation Limited. The company said it had shipped over 2 GW of this kind of advanced N-type panels since its first launch in November.

PV module maker and solar developer Risen Energy announced on Thursday it sold a 50MW solar plant in Suzakskyi District, Turkestan Region, Kazakhstan, to a unit of China’s largest nationally-owned energy enterprise, the State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC). The plant was sold for $32.8 million.

Authors: Vincent Shaw and Max Hall