The past 12 months have proved profitable for polysilicon manufacturers, as selling prices have soared to levels not seen since 2011. However, with major new capacity expansions on the horizon from most of the leading manufacturers, and new players planning to enter the scene, the market balance looks set to shift. Exawatt’s Alex Barrows rounds up where the industry stands and what might happen next.
Sujoy Ghosh, First Solar’s vice president for India and the Asia-Pacific region, speaks to pv magazine India’s Uma Gupta about the company’s plans to set up a 3.3 GW module fab in India to service the local market.
Like many Australians, I’ve watched with growing frustration as the federal government has had another internal stoush over increasing our climate targets. While the Morrison government has finally agreed to adopt a net zero by 2050 target, a handful of National Party members have effectively barred Australia from taking a stronger 2030 target to the upcoming COP26 climate conference.
Factories suffering from rationed grid electricity could help drive a boom in on-site solar systems, and recent moves to mandate the retrofitting of PV on existing buildings could also lift the market, as analyst Frank Haugwitz explains.
The 145 MW Cirata floating PV project achieved financial close in August. The developers claim that the array, which covers 200 hectares of the water’s surface, is an example of transferring new technology that will pave the way for Indonesia’s solar industry and enable the setting of new policies.
China’s president has detailed plans to accelerate the planning and construction of large-scale wind and PV projects in desert areas, while Wuxi Shanghai announced new granular silicon and nano-silicon production capacity expansions.
Last year, a day after Halloween, I saw firsthand the result of the most hectic hailstorm I’ve ever endured. Springfield Lakes, Greenbank and a few surrounding Brisbane suburbs got absolutely smoked. It was reported in February that the damage bill had reached at least $805 million. More recent reports have estimated it to be over $1 billion.
First Solar has announced plans to establish a new 3.3 GW manufacturing facility in India. Representing an investment of US$684 million (AU$950 million), the move demonstrates the thin-film PV manufacturer’s confidence in India’s solar growth and the increasingly favourable policy environment for domestic solar PV production.
PV’s contribution to a cleaner future can go well beyond generating emissions-free energy, but maximising the opportunity is not always straightforward. Ragna Schmidt-Haupt, partner at Everoze and a board member at Skyray, argues that investors and lenders have to start making decisions today to fulfil the required disclosure regulations and make sure their fleet has a positive impact on biodiversity. The key challenge is to weigh the techno-economic-ecological risks, opportunities, costs and revenues.
The Indian government has created a strong balance between industrial policy as well as trade policy, which provides companies like First Solar an ideal opportunity to establish their manufacturing facilities in India, according to First Solar chief executive officer Mark Widmar.
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