As Chinese-headquartered module suppliers continue to dominate the Australian PV market, FuturaSun is hoping to find a niche for its Chinese-made modules. In a major step towards this goal, the Italian-headquartered module maker has achieved accreditation for 20 of its modules with the Clean Energy Council (CEC).
Following the “long and intense” accreditation process and on the back of an agreement with SV Solar, an accredited Queensland distributor, the company hopes to tap the market’s potential with a focus on the ever-growing rooftop PV segment. “We appreciate the seriousness of the Australian photovoltaic market characterized by strict and precise rules and high-quality standards. We are proud to learn that our panels meet the required characteristics,” Alessandro Barin, CEO of FuturaSun, said.
Last year, the Italian company opened a 500 MW factory in Jiangsu province, China. In its announcement, FuturaSun said its aim, in opening the factory, was “directly challenging the behemoths of the photovoltaic sector on Chinese soil”.
The fab was designed to incorporate four production lines and produce monocrystalline multi-busbar modules. The manufacturer directly unveiled plans to double capacity at the site to 1 GW. The facility extended FuturaSun’s manufacturing capacity, which already included a 150 MW factory in Maanshan, China, and a partnership in a factory in Vietnam.
Although headquartered in one of the worst-hit countries by the Covid-19 outbreak worldwide and with all of its manufacturing facilities in China, the source of the coronavirus, FuturaSun reports only a limited impact on its operations.
“Our production is only in China, where even though we are not running at full capacity at the moment, we have been ramping up since February. Currently, we are also looking at further expanding in order to reach 1 GW full capacity before the end of the year,” Barin tells pv magazine. “We believe that regardless of the short-medium term effects the Covid-19 crisis might have in the market, in the long term this is going to boost the PV sector even more.”
While Chinese-based PV manufacturing operations are on track to fully normalize, the initial blow of Covid-19 has once again exposed the over-reliance of the solar industry supply chains on China and prompted calls for the development of local solar industries. To illustrate this, it is enough to say that around 90% of the solar modules on Australian rooftops are featuring “Made in China” labels, according to data from SunWiz.