News Article | May 10, 2017
SolarWorld AG, parent of the largest U.S. crystalline-silicon solar manufacturer, announced today it has filed for insolvency. In a brief statement, management said it concluded, following a diligent review, "that due to the ongoing price erosion and the development of the business, the Company no longer has a positive going concern prognosis, is therefore over-indebted and thus obliged to file for insolvency proceedings." SolarWorld AG is headquartered in Bonn, Germany and operates a large manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon. The statement said the company is currently evaluating if its subsidiaries, which includes SolarWorld Americas, must also file for insolvency. The U.S. branch did not immediately respond to a request for comment. SolarWorld has led several trade cases against Chinese solar manufacturers for allegedly dumping solar modules in the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. Commerce Department set anti-subsidy rates on most Chinese solar imports in 2012, and revises them annually. Tariffs, which vary by supplier, averaged 29.5 percent for 2016. The woes of Western solar manufacturers have persisted, however. Prices across the upstream solar value chain started to decline in the second half of 2016 and have continued to nosedive. In March, SolarWorld issued a statement claiming that China's trade aggression continues to trigger bankruptcies and layoffs, and called on the Trump administration to address solar trade during President Xi’s U.S. visit in April. Georgia-based solar manufacturer Suniva, which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, has also blamed China for "flooding the U.S. market" with cheap solar equipment. Suniva filed a petition under the Trade Act of 1974 last month that could spark another solar trade war. “The case of Suniva dramatically demonstrates that the U.S. solar manufacturing industry still suffers from unfair trade. In particular, highly subsidized Chinese companies as well as other producers are globally dumping their products, forcing competitors to take losses, lay off workers and exit the market," Juergen Stein, U.S. president of SolarWorld, said in a statement responding to the latest trade action. "SolarWorld has fought decisively against this kind of unfair competition for many years," he continued. "China now has managed to circumvent and violate existing trade defense measures in several ways and again incited a ruinous price race to the bottom, destroying U.S. manufacturing jobs." The company said it would "assess" the Suniva case, but did not declare any further action. "Given current module price trends, this isn't surprising," said Jade Jones, solar analyst at GTM Research. "Even suppliers with best-in-class production costs are under margin pressure right now. This was abrupt and follows news of quarter-over-quarter shipment and consolidated revenue growth." "It should be noted that in the last downturn, SolarWorld avoided shuttering by restructuring and by petitioning for trade barriers in its two largest markets, the EU and the U.S.," she added. "It's interesting that SolarWorld is filing for insolvency and has not announced plans to revive itself." SolarWorld AG employs 3,292 people and operates facilities in Freiberg and Arnstadt, Germany, in addition to Hillsboro. Frank Asbeck, SolarWorld’s founder and CEO, issued a statement that management would "do everything we can to maintain as many jobs as possible," PV Magazine reports.
News Article | May 10, 2017
With more than 17 hours of content and 12 hours of dedicated networking, Solar Summit 2017 is certainly going to be time well spent. We like to run our events with conversations between an analyst who has put in the time studying these markets, and industry participants who are living in the day-to-day market realities. We’ll welcome to the stage Google, First Solar, NRG, GE, Sunrun, SunPower, Deutsche Bank, Sharp Electronics, Nexamp, Arizona Public Service, sPower, the Solar Energy Industries Association, EDF Renewables, the U.S. Department of Energy, NREL and many more. Shayle Kann, head of research here at GTM, will take the stage with John Smirnow, an expert attorney on international trade and customs, to discuss the Suniva bankruptcy and the pending trade dispute between America and Asia. Shayle and John have been following America’s solar trade wars closely over the years, and we look forward to hearing directly from them. Because our events are designed and planned by top industry analysts and experts, they attract the high-level decision-makers you want to do business with. Attendees include professionals from Tesla, Delta, PG&E, Mitsubishi Electric, LG, National Grid, Georgia Power, S&P Global Market Intelligence, Exelon, Florida Power & Light, SolarWorld and about 600 others from across the solar landscape. We do have some seats left for our expected-to-sell-out show, so take a look at the event site and register today to join us. We hope to see you in sunny Arizona next week, May 17-18.
News Article | April 27, 2017
To many, France’s ongoing elections are the latest showdown between the liberal world order and a new brand of right-wing populism. That narrative follows a similar path in energy. France’s elections are pitting nuclear versus renewables, closed markets versus open, and disruption versus protectionism. France is going through a quite radical revaluation of its electricity mix. It gets about 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear. However, in 2015, President François Holland set a policy that would phase out aging nuclear plants, and reduce nuclear generation to 50 percent by 2025. He wants to fill in the gap with more renewables and efficiency. Now the two presidential candidates -- Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen -- are sparring over what to do with nuclear. It’s part of a broader debate over nationalizing the energy giant EDF, expanding or limiting energy trading with the E.U., and mixing variable renewables with a really high nuclear grid. On this week's podcast: As we near the May 7 run-off election between Macron and Le Pen, we consider the future of the world’s leading nuclear energy power during a time of political volatility and electricity market transformation. Then, are we at the start of a new solar trade war between America and the rest of the world? We'll discuss Suniva's wide-ranging trade complaint to the government. Finally, the U.K. recently went coal-free for a day. We place its significance. This podcast is sponsored by KACO New Energy, a leading solar inverter company with superior engineering and unmatched customer service: http://kaco-newenergy.com/ Make sure to subscribe to our other podcast, The Interchange. iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-interchange/id1221460035?mt=2 SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/theinterchangepodcast
Suniva Inc. | Date: 2011-11-21
Solar cells and methods for their manufacture are disclosed. An example solar cell may comprise a substrate comprising a p-type base layer and an n-type selective emitter layer formed over the p-type base layer. The n-type selective emitter layer may comprise one or more first doped regions comprising implanted dopant and one or more second doped regions comprising diffused dopant. The one or more first doped regions may be more heavily doped than the one or more second doped regions. A p-n junction may be formed at the interface of the base layer and the selective emitter layer, such that the p-n junction and the selective emitter layer are both formed during a single anneal cycle.
Suniva Inc. | Date: 2012-01-09
Solar cells and methods for their manufacture are disclosed. An example method may include providing a substrate comprising a base layer and introducing n-type dopant to the front surface of the base layer by ion implantation. The substrate may be annealed by heating the substrate to a temperature to anneal the implant damage and activate the introduced dopant, thereby forming an n-type doped layer into the front surface of the base layer. Oxygen may be introduced during the annealing step to form a passivating oxide layer on the n-type doped layer. Back contacts may be screen-printed on the back surface of the base layer, and a p-type doped layer may be formed at the interface of the back surface of the base layer and the back contacts during firing of the back contacts. The back contacts may provide an electrical connection to the p-type doped layer.
Suniva Inc. | Date: 2013-02-28
Back junction solar cells having improved emitter layer coverage and methods for their manufacture are disclosed. In one embodiment, a back junction solar cell includes an n-type base layer having an emitter layer formed from a first p-type doped region (e.g., formed by liquid phase epitaxial regrowth) and a second p-type doped region (e.g., formed by ion implantation) that extends beyond the first region. In various embodiments, this configuration permits the first p-type doped region to be formed with a border between it and the edges of the wafer (e.g., to prevent inadvertent shunting of the cell), while the second p-type doped region extends the emitter layer to improve emitter layer coverage. In certain embodiments, the second doped p-type region may extend to the edges of the wafers n-type base layer.
Suniva Inc. | Date: 2012-03-21
Solar cells, solar modules, and methods for their manufacture are disclosed. An example method may comprise forming a dielectric layer on at least one or more edges of a substrate, and then introducing dopant to at least one surface of the substrate. The substrate may be subjected to a heating process to at least drive the dopant to a predefined depth, thereby forming at least one of an emitter layer and a surface field layer. In the example method, the dielectric layer may not be removed during a subsequent manufacturing process. Associated solar cells and solar modules are also provided.
Suniva Inc. | Date: 2011-11-30
A thin silicon solar cell is described. An example solar cell may be fabricated from a crystalline silicon wafer having a thickness of approximately 50 micrometers to 500 micrometers. The solar cell comprises a first region having a p-n homojunction, a second region that creates heterojunction surface passivation, and a third region that creates heterojunction surface passivation. Amorphous silicon layers are deposited on both sides of the silicon wafer. A final layer of transparent conductive oxide is formed on both sides Metal contacts are applied to the transparent conductive oxide.
Suniva Inc. | Date: 2012-09-28
Various embodiments of the present invention are directed to a reduced-area bus bar for collecting current from contacts on the surface of a solar cell. According to various embodiments described herein, a reduced-area bus bar is provided having a width that varies at various points along its longitudinal axis. In particular, the larger width portions of the reduced-area bus bar are configured to provide sufficient pull strength when an interconnecting ribbon is soldered along the bus bar, while the smaller width portions of the reduced-area bus bar enable a reduction in the material required to form the bus bar. Additionally, various embodiments are contemplated in which the reduced-area bus bar comprises a series of segments disposed in a spaced-apart relationship along the bus bars longitudinal axis.
Suniva Inc. | Date: 2014-05-09
A mounting system for mounting a plurality of solar panels is provided. In one aspect, the mounting system has plurality of panel modules and at least one of: a means for selectively securing a pair of adjacently positioned panel modules to a support structure in an edge-to-edge relationship along a mounting axis that is transverse to the coupling axis, and a means for selectively locking a distal end of one pair of mounting members of one panel module to a proximal end of another pair of mounting members of an adjoining panel module to form at least a portion of one coupled panel module that is adjoined end-to-end along a coupling axis that is transverse to the mounting axis.