L R AS Published on Monday 31 August 2020 - n° 329 - Categories:Thread of the Week

Le Fil de la Semaine n°329 of August 31st

THIS WEEK'S NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

If there were only five texts to read this week :

FRANCE

* Schneider Electric to manage battery production in France

THE FILE

* Clear increase in the production of the Chinese PV industry in the first half of the year

THE WORLD

*Turkey will have two integrated PV production units; what about Europe?

PRODUCTS

* New concentration of silicon producers: China produces 85 % of it

* 50 viable green hydrogenprojects are under development worldwide

Other interesting articles :

THE FILE

*
Sensible rise in the price of platelets and cells this summer (in production)

* There would be no tension on panel supplies in the second half of the year.
.
THE WORLD

*
Wave of duty-free capacity increases in India
.
THE PRODUCTS

*
Panel manufacturers in thefirst half of the year

* Cell manufacturers in the first half of the year

* Analysis of the format of booklets in the 2nd quarter

* A timetable for the adoption of the leaflet format

* Recycling of panels must be subsidised as will be hydrogen.

* Trina Solar invests in large cells and panels
.

THE COMPANIES

*
First Solar: mediocre 2nd quarter profit despite asset disposal

* Very good first semester for SMA

* Silicon producer Wacker is gradually going under

* In phase loss in the 2nd quarter due to covid
.

MISCELLANEOUS

*
A space to install signs: motorways

* A solar "glass" that captures invisible wavelengths

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THESE TITLES

.
FRANCE

* Schneider Electric to pilot battery production in France

Verkor, created in July 2020 in France, has joined forces with the European research organisation EIT InnoEnergy, Schneider Electric and the engineering company IDEC Group to build a 16 GWh lithium-ion battery production unit at a location to be determined in France. Production is expected to begin in 2023. The start-up cost of the plant would be €1.6 billion.

The consortium hopes to join the Total - PSA project to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles on the national market.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/08/20/french-start-up-plans-16-gwh-battery-factory/

PV Magazine of 20 August

Editor's note The project is based around Schneider Electric, the only company with the financial and industrial power to carry out and control the whole project. It is being carried out with the technological support of EIT InnoEnergy and an engineering company. This single manager already has the advantage of having a single decision-maker and the industrial will. The project can succeed. For Schneider, it has the advantage of broadening its range of activities and positioning itself in a market with a bright future. It's encouraging to see a major French player get into the fray. This justifies our opinion that any project supported by French or European politicians does not have as much chance of success as one led by an industrial player.

.
.
THE SUBSIDIARY

*
Clear increase in production in the Chinese PV sector in the first half of the year

Chinese production of wafers, cells and panels is increasing as the sector moves away from the pandemic. This is evident in thefirst half of the year according to figures from the CPIA (the Chinese PV industry association).

The half-yearly production of silicon reached 205,000 tonnes (+32% over last year).

Silicon wafer production increased by 19% year-on-year to reach 75 GW. Despite the sharp fall in demand for polycrystalline silicon wafers, monosilicon wafers benefited from a sharp increase in demand for larger sizes, those of 166, 182 and 210 mm.

Cell production reached 59 GW in the first half of 2020, an increase of 16% compared to the first half of 2019. The CPIA notes the accelerated deployment of heterojunction cells, particularly at Risen and Talesun.

Panel production increased by 13% year-on-year to 53 GW. Double-sided and glass panels experienced particular growth in the market.

While exports of wafers and cells increased in the period to 2019, foreign demand for panels stagnated at 28 GW (-2%).

11 GW were installed in China in the first half of the year (7 GWof large plants, 4 GW of distributed installations). Recent calls for tenders (for 26 GW and declared grid parity projects for 36 GW) have prompted the CPIA to envisage a national installation volume of between 35 GW and 45 GW for 2020.

https://www.pv-tech.org/news/chinese-wafer-cell-and-module-capacities-all-grow-as-upstream-sector-shrugs

PV Tech of July 22nd

Editor's note It is a pity that the importance of exports of platelets and cells is not available. If we had them, we could realise the observation on panels: production is 53 GW. Exports of 28 GW and installations in China of 11 GW leave an unsold stock of 14 GW on 30 June. This stock will certainly be sold out in the second half of the year, particularly in China, where demand will be much higher.

The increase in silicon production should have a depressing effect on prices, while the opposite movement (an increase) is seen in the second quarter. This means that this price rise does not appear to be sustainable.


*
Wafer and cell prices rise sharply this summer (at the production level)

On August 10, Tongwei increases the price of the cells again, by $0.08 / W for 156.75 mm, 158.75 mm and 166 mm mono cells. By the end of July, LONGi had increased the price of its platelets by $0.03/W and the price of its cells by $0.08/W.

By July, the price of panels had risen to 1.5 yuan/W. Many panel manufacturers renegotiated their prices with customers because the agreed prices were no longer profitable for producers.

These price increases were encouraged by production incidents at Daqo's factories, and later at GCL-Poly/JZS's factories. They were quickly spectacular. They caught the industry off guard, especially solar cells. They also correspond to the seasonality of installations in China: the small number of power plant installations in the first half of the year favoursa fall in the price of panels. The upturn in installations in the second half of the year boosts prices. For example, China installed 11 GW in the first half of 2020 but would install 35 GW in the second half!

Official pricing from Tongwei (RMB/W, 10 August)
Polysilicon Mono M2 Mono G1 Mono M6
24 July 2020 0.54 0.87 0.89 0.89
10 August 2020 0.6 0.95 0.97 0.97
Percentage increase 11.1% 9.2% 9% 9%
Official pricing from LONGi ($/pc, 31 July)
G1 (158.75mm) M6 (166mm)
24 July 2020 0.331USD 0.343USD
31 July 2020 0.365USD 0.381USD
Percentage increase 10.3% 11.1%
Source: Official websites of LONGi and Tongwei, compiled by PV Tech

The rise in upstream components is forcing panel manufacturers to raise their prices or terminate contracts that provide for too low prices. As a result, many contracts have been cancelled. Cell and panel manufacturers are encouraged to invest in the upstream part of the sector. Jinko Solar, for example.

Some manufacturers are encouraging developers to postpone their projects, if possible until 2021. Thus "Jinko Solar believes that this price increase will be short-lived". Its leader believes that prices will return to a normal level between October and November, when supply and demand will be balanced.

As a result of the price increase, PV installations in China could be reduced from the 35 GW forecast.

https://www.pv-tech.org/news/solar-manufacturers-developers-urge-caution-over-polysilicon-pricing-volati

PV Tech of 17 August


*
There would be no tension on the supply of panels in the 2nd half of the year.

From mid-July to early August, prices fell across Europe - perhaps for the last time this year. All indications are that the price decline in the first half of the year will soon come to an end. Most manufacturers have either announced price increases of a few cents per watt for the fourth quarter or have already adjusted their price lists.

In Germany, the pace of new photovoltaic construction has not slowed down in recent months. The upper limit of 52 GW, previously set by the German federal government for EEG-funded systems, has already been exceeded. Now the race for available capacity is in full swing. Even the least attractive batches of polycrystalline panels with poor performance have now disappeared from the market.

At present, demand forecasts are contradictory. In Europe, photovoltaic installations are booming, at least in places where it is possible to work efficiently without the restrictions associated with coronavirus: high demand is expected. In China, demand is already expected to be booming, as incentive schemes have not yet been fully used this year: demand could absorb up to 40 GW, but this has not yet made itself felt on the world market.

The pandemic in North and South America also argues against any dramatic shortage of supply. The constant increase in the number of Covid-19 infections is posing problems for many companies. This is reflected in lower than expected installation figures. Some manufacturers report that some customers in the United States or Brazil are delaying or even cancelling deliveries.

Currently, manufacturers have no problem accepting deliveries in the last few months of the year. This makes it increasingly unlikely that planned volumes will actually be achieved.

The second wave of the covid could return in the wake of the summer travel season. Only China seems to have low figures. The crisis there is rarely mentioned in public. However, this lack of relapse does not seem very credible, given the conditions prevailing in the rest of the world. According to Chinese manufacturers, solar production has returned to normal - but do we really have the whole truth? Are the incidents reported so easily and so quickly (the press has reported fires and explosions at Daqo and GCL) not in fact local factory closures at several silicon producers due to new coronavirus epidemics, which the Chinese central government has ordered to be covered up?

How should developers react? A two-step approach is not a bad idea. For large projects or those that are not very price-sensitive, materials should be purchased immediately. For projects that are only attractive once prices have fallen, the spot market should be the preferred option. In the coming months, there will likely be a lot available that can be purchased at an attractive price.

https://www.pvxchange.com/en/market-analysis-august-2020-hot-summer-hotter-fall

pvXchange of 17 August
.
.
THE WORLD

*
Wave of duty-free capacity increases in India

Indian company Vikram Solar will increase its wafer, cell and panel production capacity by 3 GW in the Tami Nadu region. This corresponds to an investment of 726 M$. The company will increase its capacity from 1.2 GW to 4.2 GW within five years.

Vikram Solar is currently India's 6th largest producer of panels with a 6.1% market share behind Trina Solar, Znshine, Adani, Risen and Waaree.

A week ago, India's ReNew Power announced its intention to expand vertically with the development of a 2 GW cell and module manufacturing plant in India.

These announcements of increased capacity come at a time when India is preparing to raise its customs duties sharply (see TheIndian solar industrywants more customs duties).

https://www.pv-tech.org/news/vikram-solar-commits-to-3gw-solar-wafer-cell-and-module-expansion

PV Tech of 21 July

Editor's note The desire to install customs barriers on imports of Chinese components will help create a photovoltaic industry in India. Here again, it is a question of time, but these announcements of increases in production capacity will be followed by many others. Indian competition will emerge within two or three years. It will be formidable.


*
Turkey will have two integrated PV production units; what about Europe?

An integrated production unit (from silicon to panels) has just been inaugurated in Turkey by Kalyon Solar Technologies despite the abandonment of Hanwha Q-Cells from the project. Located near Ankara, it will initially have an annual production capacity of 500 MW, which will increase to 1 GW in the future.

The call for tenders of March 2017 also includes a 1 GW solar field located 260 km from the capital which will be equipped with panels from the factory.

Renewable energy developer Eko Yenilenebilir Enerjiler AS began building its own 1 GW vertically integrated panel factory in Ni?de, Central Anatolia, in March 2019. Turkey wants to become a solar panel manufacturing centre

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/08/20/erdogan-opens-ingot-to-module-solar-factory-in-ankara/

PV Magazine of 20 August

Editor's note One may wonder why Turkey is building integrated panel production units and why there is not the same industrial will in the 27 countries of the European Union! It is not the industrial size but the will that makes the difference. Perhaps there are political guarantees in the form of customs protection that there are not in the EU!
.
.
THE PRODUCTS

*
Panel manufacturers in thefirst half of the year

In the first half of the year, the large Chinese panel manufacturers benefited from their market domination during the covid pandemic and the rapid change in the format of the wafers. They were ahead of the small manufacturers by taking advantage of their competitiveness in terms of costs, by rapidly switching to large format products, and by securing logistics channels abroad. The top ten panel suppliers accounted for around 85% of global demand in the first half of the year, compared with 60-70% in the last two years. Thus, the panel sector is becoming increasingly concentrated.

Chinese panel manufacturers, who have a large share of the domestic market, made significantly larger deliveries in the first half of the year. According to Chinese customs, the top six panel exporters were Jinko, JA Solar, Canadian Solar, Trina, Longi and Risen.

In the second half of the year, the leading manufacturers will not only strive to increase their shipments but also to launch new products. In addition to the high-power panels presented at this year's SNEC (600 watts or more), two-sided panels are significantly increasing their market share. Projects using two-faced panels should account for more than 30% of ground projects in China in the second half of the year. Most of the two-faced panels will be delivered by Tier 1 manufacturers who are at the top of the panel shipment rankings.

https://www.infolink-group.com/en/solar/feature-rankings/2020-H1-module-shipment-ranking

PV InfoLink of 17 August


*
Cell manufacturers in the first half of the year

Compared with the corresponding period in 2019, shipments from the top five cell suppliers grew significantly in the first half of the year. Shipments from Tongwei increased by 31% year-on-year, those from Aiko by 83%, those from Lu'an by 76% thanks to sales in the Chinese market, and those from Runergy doubled. The volume of Solar Space's shipments increased by 22 per cent, making it the fifth largest company. Several manufacturers have suffered huge commercial setbacks abroad with covid.

Overall, total cell deliveries by the top five manufacturers increased over last year. Tier 1 cell manufacturers are benefiting from cost, sales and large wafer compatibility advantages. They have progressively cannibalized the market share of smaller manufacturers this year. As new cell production capacity continues to come on stream in the second half of the year, it remains to be seen how many older production lines are or will be phased out.

https://www.infolink-group.com/en/solar/feature-rankings/2020-H1-cell-shipment-ranking

PV InfoLink of 20 August


*
L'analyse du format des plaquettes en 2020

PV InfoLink presents the evolution of the wafer format, according to demand, the export of panels from the top ten manufacturers, their market share, the technology used and finally the price evolution of the different panels from these ten manufacturers.

This specific information will only be of interest to a minority of our readers. We refer them to the whole article.

https://www.infolink-group.com/en/solar/feature-china-exports/2Q20-China-customs-data-analysis-Wafer-size-trend

PV InfoLink of 27 July


*
A timetable for the adoption of the leaflet format

The 166 mm wafer format is expected to become dominant in the first half of 2021. Thereafter, the 182mm (M10) format is expected to become dominant as a result of the alliance between seven panel manufacturers (including Jinko, JA Solar, Canadian Solar and Longi) concluded on 24 June 2020. The move towards larger wafer sizes will continue. Wafer sizes of 182 mm and 210 mm (G12) will become increasingly commercially available. By 2022 they will account for more than half of the market, according to PV InfoLink.

At the moment, the bottleneck in the use of large wafers is the lack of furnaces to produce larger PV glass. This, as well as changing equipment to use larger wafers and produce larger panels, takes six to nine months.

A competitiveness gap between Tier 1 and Tier 2 or 3 players has grown as the large manufacturers continue to increase the output power of the panels. PV InfoLink forecasts that the top ten module manufacturers will have more than 80% market share this year (up from 60-70% in recent years).

A distinction is expected to emerge in the market: the 166 mm (M6) wafer format will be reserved for the residential market, while the 182 mm (M10) and 210 mm (M12) wafers will be installed in large power plants.

https://www.infolink-group.com/en/solar/analysis-trends/Large-wafers-A-stepping-stone-to-600-W-plus-modules

PV InfoLink of 21 August


*
New concentration of silicon producers: China produces 85 % of it

Buyers are focusing on monosilicon. The increase in downstream demand (for wafers and cells) is leading to a shortage of monosilicon and a rise in prices. Conversely, the drop in demand for polycrystalline silicon is leading to a drop in the price of this product.

Electricity accounts for more than 30% of silicon production costs. This has prompted producers to locate their capacity in western China where the price of electricity can be as low as RMB 0.26/kWh ($0.033/kWh). Production units have multiplied. China is now home to 85% of the world's polysilicon production capacity, as many competitors have disappeared :

In 2019, some Chinese silicon manufacturers (Orisi Silicon, Hoshine Silicon, Dunan, Combo and Jingyang) withdrew from the market because their manufacturing costs were too high. Other producers specialising in multicrystalline cannot switch to monosilicon (there are now only a few multicrystalline producers working with low profit margins).

In early 2020, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce stated that China will maintain anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports of solar-grade silicon from the US and South Korea. This means that imports from the United States will decrease compared to previous years. Tariffs on silicon imports from Korea are much lower than those from the US, but Korean manufacturers have lost their competitive edge in China by incurring higher production costs. Falling silicon prices are forcing them to shut down their operations.

Some foreign manufacturers (Elkem, Hanwha Chemical and the OIC plants in South Korea) have stopped production. The German company Wacker has reduced its production.

In China itself, production on the old lines of large manufacturers is gradually becoming too expensive. It is likely that they will reduce or suspend their activities on these lines, whether at TBEA, Yongxiang Leshan and GCL Jiangsu.

Conversely, TBEA and Daqo New Energy each commissioned new capacity between July 2019 and June 2020. These new units have a production cost of 35 to 40 RMB / kg before tax. This is 40 to 50% cheaper than foreign products.

World polysilicon production capacity was 543,000 tonnes in the second quarter. It will increase by 5 % to reach 571,000 tonnes in the fourth quarter. The additions will come mainly from GCL Xinjiang and East Hope, which are increasing their activity with new production lines at the end of the year. Currently, Tier 1 producers such as Yongxiang, Daqo New Energy, TBEA and East Hope have 52.7% of total polysilicon capacity. Their production costs are less than 45 RMB/kg.

This has made China little dependent on imports.

The price of silicon, which had fallen in June, recovered in July due to a shortage of silicon at a time when stocks were low. This shortage was also reinforced by production interruptions: Daqo New Energy was the victim of a minor accident during a maintenance operation. In mid-July an explosion occurred at the GCL Poly plant in Xinjiang. Production is suspended, possibly until the 4th quarter.

Currently, monocrystalline products represent more than 80% of the market (and therefore 20% for multicrystalline), with the objective for the major manufacturers to increase this market share to 95%.

PV InfoLink forecasts that, by the end of the year, the price of monosilicon will reach 66 RMB ($9.45)/kg, while multicrystalline will return to 39 RMB ($5.58)/kg. For the moment, stocks are low. The supply of polycrystalline is becoming scarce. Demand for monosilicon from downstream is gradually increasing. Mono and multisilicon prices should increase.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/08/20/consolidation-continues-for-polysilicon-makers/

PV Magazine of 20 August

Editor's note China acted as usual, placing its pawns to incite the opponent to admit defeat. Those pawns were the installation of production units in areas with low electricity costs, and then by introducing customs duties to raise the cost of foreign products. One by one, the competitors gave up. China finds itself with 85 % of world production capacity, without foreign competitors reacting or having reacted yet! This market share will increase further. The Chinese are taking a fundamental position on the product which conditions all panel production. It will take a serious warning to realise this. It will then be very late to react.


*
50 viable green hydrogen projects are being developed around the world.

50 viable green hydrogen projects are being developed around the world. They require an estimated cumulative renewable energy capacity of 50 GW (half of the world's solar installations by the year 2020). They will have the potential to produce 4 million tonnes of this fuel per year. They will mobilise 75 billion dollars, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

"Most of these 50 projects are at an early stage, only 14 have started construction and 34 are at the study or memorandum of understanding stage. Many of these 50 green hydrogen projects could be delayed due to uncertain funding, consortia of companies with different goals or an unfavourable economy".

The majority of the announced projects will enter into commercial operation by mid-decade, with large-scale installations starting in 2022-23 and 2025-26.

China, Japan and South Korea appear to be giving priority to hydrogen produced from natural gas (referred to as "grey" hydrogen).or "blue" if the plants capture carbon) rather than "green" hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources. The IEEFA considers the EU's €430bn hydrogen strategy to be the most ambitious and focused hydrogen strategy to date. "The EU wants to reshape its energy system and vertically integrate the hydrogen value chain with wind and solar energy, electrolysis, distribution and applications.

Annual demand for green hydrogen could reach 8.7 million tonnes by 2030 (double production), leading to a major supply shortage given the portfolio of projects already announced.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/08/26/global-green-hydrogen-project-pipeline-reaches-50-gw/

PV Magazine of August 27th

NDLR What are ten-year forecasts on a new product worth? How were the forecasts made? Wasn't the volume of demand increased a little and the amount of supply reduced to say that there will be a shortage of hydrogen? What is the reliability of future use? It is with such unreliable and purely imagined figures that the European Commission has founded itself to decree the future of hydrogen!

According to this study, projects for the construction of hydrogen production units are in their infancy. The forecast of a production of 4 million tons in 2030 remains hypothetical. Indeed, the cost of building these units is particularly high for a selling price of this hydrogen that is still unknown. Thus, the phenomena of announcements have played to the full. Only the very large groups will be able to build these installations.

The construction of 50 GW of renewable energy (half of the world's new solar installations) to produce this hydrogen has yet to be completed. This too will require large amounts of capital. The focus on green hydrogen is mainly intended to placate environmentalists, but it risks wasting valuable time and capital for Europe. The policy of switching from natural gas to hydrogen allows the energy transition to be better managed because the commodity exists and the production cycle is shorter.

This proactive European policy has a cost, which is also reflected in the recycling of panels. This has not been necessary until now and will probably not be necessary for many years to come. The small number of products to be treated requires the industry to be subsidised. After these expenses, it is surprising that there is no more money for directly useful projects!

Cf the Editor's note of the article The recycling of panels must be subsidised like hydrogen will be subsidised.


*
The recycling of panels must be subsidised as will be hydrogen.

PV Cycle would have collected 5,000 tonnes of panels in France in 2019, 94.7% of which would have been recycled at the Veolia plant in Le Rousset. PV Cycle collected 27,000 tonnes in Europe in 2018.

European regulations require the collection of 85% and recycling of 80% of the materials used in photovoltaic panels.

For the time being, there is not yet a profitable business model to support recycling. The volume of panels to be recycled remains low for the time being, which explains the unsustainable nature of this activity. Europe has put in place funding to support the dismantling, repair and commodity injection chain in the photovoltaic industry. The aim is to achieve 100% recycling of new generations of panels.

The EU is the only region in the world to have adopted a clear regulatory framework for the recycling of photovoltaic panels. Other countries, including the US, Australia and Asia, are stepping up their activities, given the large volumes of waste that are on the horizon due to the rapid pace of photovoltaic deployment.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/08/26/recycling-pv-panels-why-cant-we-hit-100/

PV Magazine of August 26th

Editor's note Initially, there was a pressure group that practically introduced the recycling of end-of-life panels. We gave them satisfaction, then we were forced to subsidise it because the quantity was insufficient to make the installations profitable. The 25-year lifespan of the panels means that it will take until 2035 or even 2045 for a sufficient quantity of panels to (possibly) ensure the viability of the recycling industry.

This waste of money will end up in the green hydrogen installations which will have to be subsidised because it will not be profitable to produce it for many, many years.

With such decisions, Europe is committing its financial future, and at the same time fails to find a strategy for the future. It loses credibility on its policy options and can no longer lead the 27 EU countries in a forward-looking direction. For example, in the field of batteries, photovoltaic production, etc... If there are no subsidies and customs protection, industrial initiatives are reticent or timid. There is no clear vision of the future. There is no will to oppose China, which prohibits any company manager from taking a risk on an activity (PV, batteries, etc.) where he will not have the certainty of the support of European leaders. The unilateral opening of borders is a mortal danger.

Europe is wasting its money without purpose and without result, to the benefit of certain pressure groups. Secondly, it is surprising that the European population is perplexed or doubtful about the European institutions. These 'authorities' only get what they deserve. Europe is wasting time, energy, credibility and money. It is sad, but that is the reality.


*
Trina Solar invests in large cells and panels

A first expansion of the company's production capacity will take place in the 4th quarter of 2020 with a capacity of 10 GW of Vertex series panels. The capacity will be increased to 21 GW at the end of 2021, then to 31 GW in 2022. This will be in addition to the production capacity of 8.5 GW at the end of 2019.

The company is also investing in the production of very large cells (210 mm, M12 format): it will add 10 GW of cell production capacity for Vertex panels. The company expects to reach a cell production capacity of 26 GW by the end of 2021, of which 70% for 210 mm cells.

This would bring Vertex's production capacity to 18 GW of cells and 21 GW of panels by the end of 2021.

https://www.pv-tech.org/news/trina-solar-adding-significant-solar-cell-and-module-capacity-for-large-are

PV Tech of August 20th

Editor's note Trina Solar is banking on the next generation of cell size, the M12. The company is preparing its production capacities accordingly, in order to be one of the first on what it considers to be the format of the future.
.
.

THE COMPANIES

*
First Solar: mediocre 2nd quarter profit despite asset disposal

Uncertainty over the extension of the federal tax credit is prompting First Solar to sell its O&M (Operations and Maintenance) business due to increased competition and thus reduced profit margins. It is considering a possible disposal of the construction business. The company wants to double the production of series 6 panels, for which there is strong demand.

In the second quarter of 2020, the company posted sales of $642 million (+21%, an increase due to the disposal of a project). Second quarter shipments amounted to 1.2 GW, 300 MW less than expected, while First Solar was not affected by the pandemic. The decline was due to port congestion, labour constraints and financing delays.

Production forecasts for 2020 remain at 5.9 GWp. Investments between $450 and $550 million

https://www.pv-tech.org/news/first-solar-sells-om-arm-explores-future-of-epc-business-as-tax-equity-head

PV Tech of 7 August

Editor's note Despite an excellent product, First Solar is falling further and further behind its Asian competitors every year. There's no point in having a full order book if it doesn't supply its customers. There's no point in producing if you don't make a profit. This willingness to sell its assets (O&M), even if they are not very profitable at the moment, is a short-sighted decision, because the research and development policy is sacrificed under the pretext that the company does not need it at the moment given its order book. The wheel of fortune is turning. The awakening of First Solar will be dramatic.

Over the quarter, the company suffers a 60% drop in net profit to $37 million (a net margin of 5.7%), despite the disposal of an asset that is certainly profitable, compared with 17% in the first quarter of 2020. The R&D rate was 3.5% over the period, compared with 4.8% in the firstquarter.


*
Very good first semester for SMA

In the first half of 2020, SMA sold 7.1 GW of inverters (compared with 4.0 GW in 2019, +77%). Revenue rose 42% to €514 million, driven by strong project activity in the United States and continued positive sales activity in Europe. EBITDA (before depreciation and amortisation) was €24m, giving a margin of 4.7% compared with 2.3% last year. This provided a net profit for the first half of €3m, compared with a loss of €14m last year.

Despite these good results, management regrets the loss of customers due to the coronavirus, resulting in lower than expected orders. For the financial year 2020, the company maintains its forecasts, i.e. sales of €1.0 to €1.1 billion and EBITDA of €50 to €80 million.

https://tecsol.blogs.com/mon_weblog/2020/08/sma-belle-croissance-du-ca-et-du-r%C3%A9sultat-au-cours-du-premier-semestre-2020-malgr%C3%A9-la-crise-du-coron.html

Tecsol of 18 August

Editor's note These good performances achieved during the coronavirus crisis are to be commended. They probably reflect a gain in market share after several years of erosion, as Chinese competitors did not have to achieve such a performance.


*
Silicon producer Wacker is gradually sinking

The German company Wacker Chemie suffered a further drop in its silicon sales. Its sales fell to €152 million in the second quarter of 2020 (-10% in the second quarter of 2019 ) due to weak demand and lower capacity utilisation rates. The silicon division recorded a loss of €35 million (net margin was negative 23% compared with 7% in the first quarter).

https://www.pv-tech.org/news/wackers-polysilicon-sales-slump-to-new-historical-low

PV Tech of 30 July

Editor's note China's desire to eliminate all global competition in the field of global photovoltaic production will claim another victim. It's only a matter of time. Indeed, the only effective response is not to lower production costs at all costs (although this is indispensable). Two reactions are possible: the first is to create an industry downstream of silicon production (the production of wafers and cells) outside China. D. Trump emphasised the production of panels on American soil, and secondly the production of cells. There is one production stage missing to save Wacker. As long as it is not set up in the US or other countries of the world, Wacker is threatened if it does not adapt with the second reaction :

The second is to follow the example of Chinese companies that have located their production units in deserts where the cost of electricity is low. For the moment, no change of industrial site has been undertaken. There is no shortage of deserts in the United States where the cost of electricity could be comparable to Xinjiang.


*
In-phase loss in Q2 due to covid

Enphase Energy's sales of $125 million decreased 6% in the second quarter compared to the same quarter in 2019 and 39% in the first quarter of 2020. Shipments (355 MW) were down 15% year over year and 45% in the first quarter. This is a consequence of the drop in demand related to Covid. Net loss for the period was $47 million compared to income of $69 million in the first quarter.

During the period, the company is pleased with the 8% sales expansion in Europe due to new sales agents; it has begun shipping its Encharge storage system with storage system with Ensemble energy management technology; and established a collaboration with Q Cells to develop an AC panel for the U.S. residential solar market.

https://www.pv-tech.org/news/enphase-energy-hit-by-low-q2-demand-buoyed-by-performance-in-europe

PV Tech of 5 August

+

Agreement between Enphase of Maxeon Solar (formerly SunPower) to produce a new panel

https://www.pv-tech.org/news/sunpowers-maxeon-spin-off-and-enphase-partner-for-new-ac-module

PV Tech of 16 July
.
.

MISCELLANEOUS

*
A space to install signs: motorways

The Austrian Institute of Technology is studying the feasibility of covering German motorways with solar panels. The challenge is interesting because there are 13,000 km of motorways, representing 5% of the territory (compared to 3% in France), which is already concreted.

The project requires determining the appropriate panel that will provide the right compromise between energy production and visibility for motorists. They must be able to drive under a solar shelter with sufficient light. Once the panel has been selected, a test will be carried out for one year, after which it will be installed on the motorway. Financing will remain the difficulty because with a price of 125 euros per m², the bill would amount to 100 billion euros to equip the entire motorway network.

https://tecsol.blogs.com/mon_weblog/2020/08/wunderbach-lallemagne-veut-recouvrir-ses-autoroutes-de-panneaux-solaires.html

Tecsol of August 29th

Editor's note The idea is interesting and will certainly become widespread: developers are desperately looking for land. But there are available sites on the motorways! Gradually, other places will be covered with solar panels: roads, railway tracks and stations, agriculture, rivers, ... The idea is to produce electricity as close as possible to the consumers!


*
A solar "glass" that captures invisible wave lengths

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new type of solar collector which, when placed on or in place of a window, produces solar energy while allowing you to see through it.

It is transparent and luminescent. At the moment it provides a rate of return of 1%. It should reach 5% when the product is optimised.

The system uses small organic molecules that absorb non-visible wavelengths specific to sunlight. Although the technology is at an early stage, it has the potential to be adapted to commercial or industrial applications at an affordable cost. This makes it possible to create non-detectable solar panels, which is useful for windows, for example.

https://tecsol.blogs.com/mon_weblog/2020/08/des-chercheurs-ont-mis-au-point-un-capteur-transparent-et-vise-un-rendement-de-5.html

Tecsol of August 22nd
.
.

.

Subscribe to the newsletter "Le Fil de l'Actu"...

Most read articles in the last 10 days