Solar

World’s Largest Solar Cell Manufacturing Plant Underway

Two years ago, GW-scale production facilities were considered a big deal. With more companies reaching the GW range, the next step is to get to multi-GW capacities. That’s exactly what Neo Solar Power Corp. is doing in Taiwan.

This week, the company announced that construction is underway on the world’s largest solar cell facility, a plant that will cost $837 million and produce 3.4 GW of cells per year. The first phase of the plant will be 400 MW in size. According to a report from Bloomberg, Neo Solar said it should be done in the first half of 2011.

The company already has 620 MW of capacity operating in northern Taiwan. The company will scale those facilities up to 800 MW by year end.

By most accounts, 2010 will be a big year for solar installations. The consultancy iSuppli predicts that around 13.6 GW of PV will be installed this year. Despite the scaling back of incentives in a few big European markets, iSuppli projects installations to be over 20 GW in 2011. Due to unexpectedly high demand in the second half of this year, it’s increasingly difficult to find panels. Silicon prices have started rising as well.

Companies like Neo Solar are ramping up quickly to ensure a steady supply of cells and modules during these high growth years. Some analysts are already worrying about supply constraints into 2012.