Thin Film Intelligence Brief 14 – 27 March 2012

Wessels says India should open up to foreign trade Companies mentioned: First Solar, Innotech Solar, Jendra Power, Energie Wasser Bern, Enbridge, Station, First Solar, Maryland Solar, and NV Energy 

First Solar Wessels says India should open up to foreign trade 

Maja Wessels, First Solar's executive VP, global public affairs, expressed in a recent news report in India that it makes more sense for India’s solar sourcing policy to open up to trade with foreign manufacturers rather than placing a cap on foreign imports. Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, all investors must compulsorily use domestic solar modules and buy 30% of their inputs from local manufacturers. India is facing stiff resistance to this local sourcing clause from the US and the EU, according to local and international news reports. 

Wessels has termed the sourcing policy under India's national solar mission as "self-destructive" and said it discourages competition. In an Economic Times of India report, Wessels was quoted as saying: “The government needs to facilitate price reduction and competition." 

While the foreign PV sub-sector of thin-film in India has access to manufacturing and co-developing in India, other PV technologies do not. First Solar commissioned 200 MW projects in India last year, according to the news report, making it the largest foreign seller of solar equipment in India in the thin-film category. 

The protectionist policy of the Indian government is a double-edged sword for both domestic and foreign companies and investors as the policy cast doubt over future and sustainable growth. The country has huge potential for solar-generated power and has a target of deploying 1,000 MW of solar power projects by next year and 20,000 MW by 2022. 

Global thin film market to generate $22bn by 2016 

The global thin-film PV market is expected to generate $22bn by 2016 with an estimated CAGR of 27.5% from 2011-2016, according to research firms, 6Wresearch and Research and Markets. 

According to researcher 6Wresearch, in 2011, a-Si has dominated the thin-film PV market and accounted for 49.8% of the market share in the overall market; however, this market share is expected to fall to 38.1% by 2016. The market for CdTe, CIS/CIGS, and other thin-film PV cells are expected to grow with a CAGR of 30.5%, 39.8%, and 15.0%, respectively for the same period. 

In the modules market, the market is estimated to generate 3,213.2 MW in 2011 and is expected to reach 9,036.6 MW by 2016, with a CAGR of 23.0% from 2011-2016. CdTe based modules dominated the module market and accounted for 44.4% of the share in the overall market in 2010, however, the report said that the CIS/CIGS modules segment is expected to take the top spot by 2016. 

Asia is expected to grow with a relatively higher CAGR of 33.7% for the same period. In regards to the application market, BIPV dominated and accounted for 45.5% of the share in 2010, followed grid-connected power supply, military & space, consumer electronics among other segments, according to the research report. 

Granada PV tree reforestation project complete 

Innotech Solar, Jendra Power, and Energie Wasser Bern have completed a 4.3 MW PV plant on a series of greenhouses near Granada, Spain. The plant is comprised of Innotech PV modules, made from cells initially rejected the following manufacturing, and repaired by Innotech using a laser-assisted process. Jendra Power commissioned the 62,000 square meter PV plant on February 24th, 2012. 

The greenhouses upon which the PV plant is sited house trees that are being cultivated for a reforestation project in the region. 

This is the third PV plant that investor Wasser Bern has commissioned from Innotech Solar. Jendra Power provided planning, project management, and construction services. 

Station set to ship modules from the new factory 

Station, a manufacturer of high-efficiency thin-film solar modules, has received Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) and International Electrotechnical Commissions (IEC) certifications to ship modules produced at its Hattiesburg, Miss., factory, the company reported. 

Station modules with a nominal power of up to 140 watts are now available, with commercial shipments from the factory commencing later this month. The first phase of the 500-megawatt factory has 100 megawatts of annual production capacity, which is the equivalent of approximately 25,000 residential solar electric systems. 

The station will continue the expansion of both its Hattiesburg factory and its San Jose headquarters. As part of its $130M funding round in December 2011, Station is establishing a subsidiary in Korea (“Stion Korea”) with strategic partner AVACO to build a factory that will help serve the Asian and European markets. 

Enbridge acquires 50MW Nevada project Enbridge has acquired a 100 percent interest in the 50-megawatt (MW) Silver State North photovoltaic (PV) project from First Solar, which developed and constructed the Clark County, Nevada, project. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

Located 40 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada, Silver State North was constructed under a fixed-price engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) agreement with First Solar, and is expected to begin commercial operation by May 2012. 

First Solar will provide operations and maintenance services to Enbridge under a long-term contract. NV Energy will purchase the energy output under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) approved in 2010 by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada. 

SoloPower hires ex-Nato Commander SoloPower, a manufacturer of high efficiency, lightweight, and flexible thin-film solar cells and modules has appointed retired General Wesley K. Clark to its board of directors as an independent director. Clark is a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and a former U.S. Presidential candidate. 

SoloPower Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Harris said that Clark is a global leader and alternative energy champion, and will be harnessing his insights, guidance, and perspective as the company focuses on solar powering commercial and industrial buildings in the US and abroad. 

Since retiring from the military in 2000, he has worked as an investment banker, alternative energy leader, author, cable network television military analyst and businessman. 

With growth capital in place and strong demand from the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Italy, among other countries, I hope to help support SoloPower’s continued global expansion,” said Clark. 

BW Europe bags First Solar Italy contract 

First Solar and BW Europe have signed a distribution arrangement under which BW EUROPE will sell First Solar's advanced, thin-film solar modules in Italy. 

BW Europe is a leader in module sales in Italy, including building-integrated PV and photovoltaic systems integration. 

"We are pleased to be able to offer our customers products known for high yield and reliability and from an international market leader like First Solar," said Enrico Tonduti, President of BW EUROPE S.p.A. "First Solar modules produce higher yields than competing modules in field performance with an attractive look that appeals to our most discerning customers." 

"BW EUROPE is a strong distribution partner for First Solar in Italy thanks to its experience with thin-film PV and its reputation for serving aesthetically demanding customers," said Alfredo di Stefano, Italy Account Manager for First Solar. 

First Solar acquires Maryland project 

First Solar has acquired a 100 percent stake in Maryland Solar, a 20-megawatt (AC) photovoltaic (PV) solar power project in Hagerstown, Maryland. 

The project, which has a contract to sell electricity and renewable energy credits to FirstEnergy Solutions, is expected to start construction in Q2 2012 and be completed in Q4 2012. 

The modules will power approximately 2,700 Maryland homes, displacing approximately 23,000 metric tons of CO2 annually the equivalent of taking 4,400 cars off the road each year, said First Solar. The project is expected to provide 125 construction jobs. 


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