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Solar panel production

PV industry is getting much better after a series of consolidations and insolvencies and production overcapacity seems to be over.

Nevertheless, the market od solar panel production has undergone certain changes over the last few years. Interest in PV has moved from environmental idealists, through straight edge investors to PV power generators.

Some important observations from the current PV market are:

1. Silicone-based technologies are every time more important than thin film technologies.

It is happening due to the fact that the combination of efficiency, price and maturity of this technology is considered the best. However, there is still some niche left on the market for BIPV for new energy-saving houses.

2. LCOE went below 0,1 euro/kWh this year even in countries with low irradiation.

BOS elements every time have higher impact on PV electricity costs therefore module efficiency is more and more important. It means that technologies such as bifacial modules, trackers and concentration will become more popular.

3. Stability against sand abrasion and soiling is more important than hail and snow resistance.

This is due to emerging markets, such Asia, MENA, South Africa.

4. Anti-dumping tariffs were ineffective 

Tariffs simply made prices of modules fluctuate more and become generally more expensive. Still, seven out of ten top suppliers come from China. What’s more, China not only dominates the panel manufacturing business but also the entire upstream production.

5. Solar boom in China is not helping solar panel innovation

Some people believe that Chinese subsidies help in global solar deployment. It’s true that cheap Chinese modules made solar more popular. However, there is a huge need of making modules more efficient and solar innovations are needed. Those cannot be developed so quickly in China since most of these companies pursue rather cost reduction and incremental process improvement as well as strengthening supply chains. What’s more, increase of vertical integration in these companies could stifle disruptive changes.

Therefore, solar panel production companies should not be concetrated only in China but should be ready to enter to new markets. Silicone-based technologies will still be attractive but increase in efficiency is a must. To project solar panels on any roof, try EasySolar app.

Source: Dr Joris Libal, Dr Radovan Kopecek: The second summer of new PV technologies.