More than 1 GW of subsidized small solar arrays were installed in China last month alone and manufacturer Suntech has announced the start of operations at its 500 MW Indonesian cell and module fab.
The Chinese manufacturer has debuted two models in the new bifacial, double-glass series to join the scramble for a slice of the 500 W-plus market and to stake its claim to set the 182mm, M10 wafer adopted as the industry standard.
China’s cumulative installed PV capacity topped 208 GW at the end of March, thanks to 3.95 GW of new projects completed in the first quarter. JinkoSolar and Longi both joined the 500 W-plus module race, with their new panels offering 580 W and 530 W of output, respectively. Ginlong, meanwhile, has revealed plans to raise funds to increase its annual inverter production capacity to 20 GW, and Xi’An Solar has claimed a 23.2% efficiency rate for its N-type TOPCon modules in mass production.
Longi and Sungrow both announced solid financial results last week. Module maker China Solar delayed the resumption of trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange, and polysilicon producer GCL-Poly unveiled plans to raise up to $16.8 million by issuing shares. Coal miner Baofeng Energy, meanwhile, announced the construction of what it claims will be the world’s largest PV-powered hydrogen plant, and Seraphim and Lu’An Solar revealed that they will open a 5 GW PV panel factory in China’s Jiangsu province.
The Chinese manufacturer claims a record — since the device was manufactured on standard commercial production equipment.
The coronavirus outbreak in China could raise solar module prices in the near term as manufacturers have already begun experiencing wafer and solar glass shortages. Production rates are also being affected by an extended new year holiday introduced by the authorities as a measure to deal with the virus, and the requirement workers from infected areas quarantine themselves for two weeks.
The shift to the larger M6 wafer format could occur faster than many have expected. Promoted heavily by mono giant Longi, the format is said to be a good fit for both cell and module production, while still allowing for relatively trouble-free integration into PV arrays.
Vincent Shaw reports: An insider at the China Photovoltaic Industry Association has told pv magazine there was an end-of-year rally after less than 18 GW of new capacity was installed to the end of November.
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