The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Global Solar Expansion: Mega Solar PV Manufacturing Plants (Reportedly) in the Works from East to West

Whether it is in reaction to international trade conflicts, booming local demand for solar, or the firm belief that solar PV will soon be a dominant player in the energy market, recent company announcements highlight the great promise that solar holds as a manufacturing and power producing engine worldwide.

In Doha, Qatar Solar Energy (QSE) announced that it is making progress in its efforts to build at 2.5-GW solar PV manufacturing plant.  When complete, the plant will be the largest solar technology development and manufacturing facility in the MENA region.  QSE has a 300-MW production facility that is already operational in the region.

This week QSE announced that it had signed an agreement with Kazatomprom, a multi-billion dollar energy company based in the Republic of Kazakhstan to secure solar grade silicon, the raw material used to make solar panels, at what QSE said is “an extremely competitive fixed cost” for the next ten years.

The company believes that the agreement will give it an advantage in the market given that demand for raw polysilicon will continue to grow as the global need for solar energy increases exponentially in the near future.

In a press conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, Salim Abbassi, CEO of QSE commented on Kazakh national TV: “This partnership allows QSE to secure the entire value chain from raw material to smart-grid development and provides a powerful foundation from which QSE will further expand its production capacity to 2.5 GW.”

Earlier this month, GT Advanced Technologies announced that it would be supplying its HiCz200 furnaces to QSE's integrated PV manufacturing project in Doha. HiCz is GT's proprietary next-generation monocrystalline PV puller that is capable of growing both p-type and n-type monocrystalline ingots. GT said that the HiCz continuous feeding growth process offers advantages over traditional batch Cz furnaces making it particularly well suited for the production of n-type ingots. The HiCz growth process produces longer ingots with greater material uniformity and lower resistivity, said the company, therefore lowering the cost of wafering.

On the other side of the world, SolarCity recently announced that it had purchased Silevo technology and plans to open a 1-GW manufacturing plant in Buffalo, NY in order to meet its own projected demand for solar PV in the U.S. SolarCity leases solar PV systems to homeowners and has quickly expanded across the country in the past two years.  In 2011 the country had installed less than 100 MW of capacity and expects to install 500-550 MW of solar PV capacity in 2014. SolarCity said that it is "on track" to have 1 million customers by 2018. 

Do all of these manufacturing announcements mean that solar is now firmly established and will simply grow exponentially for the forseeable future?  “The short answer is no,” said Paula Mints of SPV Market Research.  Mints said that industry watchers should take announcements like these lightly and not bank on them actually happening.  “Announcements tell us about a company’s assumed direction and should not be used for forecasting or assumptions,” she said.

Mints suggested that solar industry stakeholders keep an eye on progress and “see if [the announced plans] actually happen and to what degree they happen.” Consider the host of announcements concerning new thin-film facilities during the mid-2000 crystalline polysilicon shortage, she said. Most of those went nowhere.

“Many announcements remain just that or are realized at a reduced (sometimes far reduced) rate. I have a wait and see attitude about these announcements and have doubts about both,” she said.

That doesn’t mean that Mints has doubts about the solar industry in general, however.  In fact, she feels the industry is strong. “Solar is already established as an industry, though it is still going through growing pains,” she said.

Lead image: Silicon factory via Shutterstock

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Solar Cell Efficiency Could Double with Novel “Green” Antenna

Renewable Energy World Editors The use of solar energy in the U.S. is growing, but panels on rooftops are still a rare sight. They cost thousands of...

LG Chem: Storage Battery Leader

Debra Fiakas The post “Energy Storage Restart,” which was published last week, discussed the efforts by General Electric (GE: NYSE...

Hawaiian Home a Solar-Battery Storage Microgrid Showcase

Andrew Burger Combining performance-enhanced PV panels, advanced battery storage and cloud-connected system monitoring, a residenti...

Solar Making Big Gains in the Land of the Rising Sun

Vince Font The Land of the Rising Sun is living up to its nickname. According to a new report from the SolarSuperState Associati...

PRESS RELEASES

Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 Continues to (R)evolutionize at SPI

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) prepares to showcase its recently launched tracking syst...

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University recently completed a proj...

Early Bird Registration Deadline for GRC Annual Meeting is This Week

The deadline for early-bird rates for registration for the biggest annual geothermal ev...

Redesigned HydroWorld.com Video Gallery

Hydropower news and information, and interesting promotional announcements are now avai...

FEATURED BLOGS

Transitioning to Net-Zero Living

Judith and Jeffrey adore living in Belfast, Maine – a quaint harbor town of Belfast, Maine. They previously res...

The True Cost of Electric Vehicles in Australia

In order to avoid increased congestion, further greenhouse warming and lessen Australia’s reliance on imported ...

The Coming Multi-trillion Dollar Energy Investment Drive

In coming years, a multi-trillion dollar low-emission energy investment drive will get underway. Three catalysts wil...

The Perfect Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a concise statement that grabs attention and communicates value, ideally leading to a next step...

FINANCIAL NEWS

Jennifer Runyon is chief editor of RenewableEnergyWorld.com and Renewable Energy World magazine, coordinating, writing and/or editing columns, features, news stories and blogs for the publications. She also serves as conference chair of Renewable ...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Solar Power International 2015

Solar Power International, ranked as the largest solar trade show in Nor...

International Energy and Sustainability Conference 2015

The fourth International Energy and Sustainability Conference will be he...

Intersolar North America 2016

Exhibition: July 12 - 14, 2016; Conference: July 11 - 13, 2016 Intersola...

COMPANY BLOGS

Obama’s Clean Power Plan A Good First Step

On Aug. 3, President Obama unveiled the final version of his eagerly ant...

The Key To A Productive Mind

I’m sure most of you utilize a variety of productivity tools on a ...

Your Brain At Work

On Saturday, we discussed the value of the “brain dump” as i...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS