U.S. Caps AD Rate for Taiwan-Based Cell Suppliers at 4.2% According to Preliminary Result of 2014~2016 Solar Trade Case Review, TrendForce Reports

U.S. Caps AD Rate for Taiwan-Based Cell Suppliers at 4.2% According to Preliminary Result of 2014~2016 Solar Trade Case Review, TrendForce Reports

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2017-03-03 | Editor : Lucy Chen 36 pageviews

U.S. Caps AD Rate for Taiwan-Based Cell Suppliers at 4.2% According to Preliminary Result of 2014~2016 Solar Trade Case Review, TrendForce Reports

 The U.S. Department of Commerce that on March 1 announced changes to the antidumping duties (AD) that are imposed on PV cell imports from Taiwanese suppliers during the 2014~2016 period. According to the preliminary result of the case review, the Commerce Department decided to substantially lower the AD rates for Taiwanese cell suppliers. The initial ruling had some of them pay the highest rate of 27.55% and the lowest rate of 11.45%, while the rest would have to pay 19.5%. The adjustments made after the review cut the highest rate down to 4.2% and the lowest rate down to 3.5%. The majority of Taiwanese suppliers, however, now pay a rate of 4.09%.

“Taiwanese PV enterprises Sino-American Silicon Products (SAS) and Solartech Energy are the winners coming out of this review because their rates are now the lowest,” said Corrine Lin, assistant research manager for EnergyTrend, a division of TrendForce. “The rate adjustment furthermore strengthens other advantages that SAS has. Among Taiwanese manufacturers, SAS is the leader in PERC production capacity and has its own branded module products.

Two other competitors Neo Solar Power (NSP) and Tainergy did not participate in the review, so their AD rates – both were levied 19.5% last year – remain unchanged. To survive, NSP and Tainergy will have to accelerate the rollout of competitive products in their overseas facilities outside China and Taiwan.

Lin also pointed out that during the past two years many first-tier, vertically integrated Chinese PV enterprises have established production facilities in Southeast Asia because importing from there will not be subject to antidumping and countervailing tariffs. As a result, there is now an abundance of products from Southeast Asia for downstream customers to choose from.

“Furthermore, the average price of multi-Si modules for utility-scale PV power plants in the U.S. has now fallen to a low of US$0.35~0.37 per watt,” Lin added. “Under this context, manufacturers that have their total tariff rates significantly cut will not necessarily become more competitive against manufacturers that have overseas production bases and are able to evade tariffs altogether.”

On the other hand, Taiwanese cell suppliers with lower AD rates can be more effective in promoting their mono-Si and mono-Si PERC products, which have become popular since the last year’s Solar Power International trade show in the U.S. While first-tier manufacturers in China have started to increase their PERC exports to the U.S. since the fourth quarter of 2016, their production capacities for the technology, particularly in their overseas facilities, are still relatively low. There are non-Chinese competitors such as Hanwha Q CELLS, SolarWorld and REC Solar that have technologically matured mono-Si PERC products and can sell them without being subjected to high tariffs. However, their combined mono-Si PERC capacity is currently less than 2 gigawatts. Therefore, Taiwanese suppliers of mono-Si and mono-Si PERC products can have a more advantageous position following the rate reduction.

At the present, the average price of mono-Si PERC modules in the U.S. rooftop market is around US$0.38~0.45 per watt. Those Taiwanese cell suppliers with AD rates in the range of 3.5~4.2% will achieve profit by assembling and exporting their PERC modules to the U.S.

However, EnergyTrend also believes that the rate adjustment following the review will give high-efficiency cells (including PERC products) only a temporary boost in terms of profit margin as the mono-Si and PERC capacities in Southeast Asia will expand eventually.

In the past several years, Taiwanese PV enterprises have missed the opportunity to develop their own branded modules during periods of no AD tariff or low AD rates from the U.S. Consequently, they became much less competitive when other major manufacturers started to establish production facilities overseas. Now, Taiwanese manufacturers are concentrated in the cell section of the global PV supply chain. They face challenges both in developing the downstream market and in securing mono-Si wafer supply from upstream suppliers. While Taiwanese cells have advantages in conversion efficiency and product quality, they do not have much room for further margin growth.

“Taiwanese PV enterprises will try to find opportunities that come from the lowering of AD rates and the relative immaturity of PERC production in Southeast Asia,” said Lin. “At the same time, they will need to find ways to maximize the use of their mono-Si and PERC capacity. Expanding into downstream is an imperative as opposed to relying on cell exports to the U.S. The price differences between high-efficiency and conventional products will continue to narrow, so margins for Taiwanese cells will also shrink in the long run. As for first-tier module suppliers, they will likely to keep building up production capacity in countries that are not the targets of high tariffs.” 

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March 3, 2017 at 06:12AM

DSM sponsors SunRISE II competition and acceleration program

DSM sponsors SunRISE II competition and acceleration program

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Royal DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials is the driving force behind the SunRISE TechBridge Challenge II, building on the success of the first SunRISE TechBridge Challenge. Sponsored by DSM, in partnership with the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems TechBridge program (Boston, Massachusetts) and Greentown Labs (Somerville, Massachusetts), the largest cleantech incubator in the U.S., SunRISE II offers startups a unique opportunity to fast track their business. Startups will also benefit from the partners’ expertise, and from potential collaboration with DSM’s solar business as well as eligibility for venturing investment by DSM. For DSM, SunRISE provides a unique approach to swiftly evaluate opportunities for collaboration and investment, in order to foster and accelerate innovations in its solar business.

New open innovation model works

“The program is a unique approach in the solar materials space,” said Pieter Wolters, managing director of DSM Venturing in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “SunRISE is designed to let us evaluate a thematic cohort of possible collaborations and investments in parallel and in a compressed time frame. SunRISE also offers tailored peer-learning by co-locating DSM’s solar business and the startups under one roof. I’m pleased with the results of SunRISE I in 2016. The two additions to our Venturing portfolio are exactly the sort of companies we’re looking for. We’re able to help them leverage their early successes through our investment. We plan to extend this approach into other fields as well. It’s a great way to share learnings and do business with each other between startups, DSM, partners and the solar innovation ecosystem alike.”

Making an impact in solar innovation with SunRISE I

The first SunRISE TechBridge Challenge in 2016 attracted 56 applications. Of the five winners, two received venturing investments from DSM Venturing and several others are in active partnership discussion with DSM. QD SolarInc. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) has developed a technology to increase the output of solar modules by capturing infrared energy that is currently wasted. WattGlass, Inc. (Arkansas, U.S.), has developed a water-based anti-reflective and anti-soiling coating that has the potential to improve the performance of solar panels.

“DSM is a leader in our market,” says Corey Thompson, CEO of WattGlass. “They have extensive experience in developing and commercializing material-based solutions for high-tech markets. We’ve benefited greatly from working with DSM Venturing and the other SunRISE partners, and the opportunities that have opened up for us as a result of winning the 2016 Challenge have been remarkable.”

Dan Shea, CEO of QD Solar, is equally enthusiastic: “The award of the SunRISE TechBridge Challenge 2016 has been instrumental in enabling us to gain financing from DSM Venturing and others, and to work with DSM’s solar business on commercializing our technology. Without the award, there’s no way we could have reached this stage so quickly.”

SunRISE TechBridge Challenge II

Based on the success of the first SunRISE TechBridge Challenge in 2016, DSM, in partnership with Fraunhofer TechBridge and Greentown Labs are now seeking further innovative solutions that will reduce the LCOE of PV systems.

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Novel PV cell and module materials;
  • Data analytics and/or advanced sensors; and
  • “Retrofit” solutions that boost the power output and/or reduce operation and maintenance costs of PV modules already installed in the field.

Winning applicants will be eligible for one or more of the following awards:

  • Up to $25,000 in technical validation services from the world-renowned Fraunhofer R&D network;
  • Greentown Launch, a 6-month structured acceleration program for solar startups at Greentown Labs, including valuable tools, products, and services;
  • Partnership and/or a project with DSM; and
  • Venture investment from DSM.

Applicants will be evaluated based on the potential impact of their solution, with a key parameter being LCOE and time to market. Proposals are due by March 15, 2017 at http://bit.ly/2lLUEbx. Awardees’ intellectual property is fully protected throughout the process.

News item from Royal DSM

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March 3, 2017 at 10:59AM

Sustainable, high energy density battery created

Sustainable, high energy density battery created

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Researchers announce the development of a novel low cost, rechargeable, high energy density battery that makes the widespread use of solar and wind power possible in the future. It is based on manganese dioxide (MnO2), an abundant, safe and non-toxic material.

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March 3, 2017 at 11:47AM

Saudi Public Investment Fund sees $50 bln deals

Saudi Public Investment Fund sees $50 bln deals

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Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) deals have increased in the past year to reach $50bln in the technology sector Bloomberg revealed. The report also highlighted that the PIF plans to build a diversified portfolio to keep up with modern economic changes.

Bloomberg indicated that the deals are topped with a 45-billion-dollar commitment from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, 3.5-billion-dollar stake in Uber, and 500 million dollars in noon.com.

Bloomberg highlighted the importance of building a diversified portfolio across industries to avoid sudden changes.

The report noted that Saudi Arabia is keen on supporting the fund and pumped 100 billion riyals into last year’s capital. It aims to make the fund more influential and pave the way for it to become the largest sovereign fund in the world, with a 2 trillion dollars worth.

The fund plans to raise the foreign investments to 50 percent by 2030, instead of the current 5 percent ratio. It also owns stakes in many governmental institutions and banks.

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Last Update: Saturday, 4 March 2017 KSA 14:14 – GMT 11:14

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March 4, 2017 at 09:48PM

INDEOtec to supply Saudi Arabia’s KAUST with heterojunction solar cell deposition system

INDEOtec to supply Saudi Arabia’s KAUST with heterojunction solar cell deposition system

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INDEOtec SA has secured a new order for a combined OCTOPUS II – PECVD/PVD deposition system for high-efficiency and heterojunction solar cell development from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Image: INDEOtec SA

INDEOtec SA has secured a new order for a combined OCTOPUS II – PECVD/PVD deposition system for high-efficiency and heterojunction solar cell development from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Image: INDEOtec SA

Swiss-based PV manufacturing equipment specialist INDEOtec SA has secured a new order for a combined OCTOPUS II – PECVD/PVD deposition system for high-efficiency and heterojunction solar cell development from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia.

The company has won a series of orders for the OCTOPUS II as research builds momentum for next-generation heterojunction solar cells.

Prof. Stefaan De Wolf, Associate Professor at KAUST said, “At KAUST we have been specifically looking for a deposition system offering high flexibility, proven reliability and very low maintenance requirements, all of which we can find at INDEOtec’s OCTOPUS II platform.”

PV Tech recently profiled INDEOtec and its CEO, Dr. Omid Shojaei as an advisory board member, presenter and sponsor of the PV CellTech conference being held in Penang, Malaysia in the next few weeks. 

The OCTOPUS II cluster tool enables double-sided HJ cell passivation and junction layer deposition for heterojunction cell architectures.

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indeotec sa, heterojunction solar cell, c-si manufacturing, solar cell, pv celltech

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March 3, 2017 at 05:35AM

World Bank approves $480m guarantees for Argentine renewables

World Bank approves $480m guarantees for Argentine renewables

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The World Bank has approved $480m in guarantees for 721MW of wind and 306MW of solar projects in Argentina that won power deals in the two initial tender rounds of its RenovAr renewable energy programme.

According to the body, bid winners of 12 wind projects and 27 solar projects are seeking World Bank guarantees for their developments.

“This [RenovAr] project promotes private investment in renewable energy sources to help satisfy the growing energy demand in the country with a clean energy source that strengthens sustainable development,” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

A total of 22 wind projects and 25 solar PV projects won contracts in Round 1 and Round 1.5 of the process held so far last year.

The World Bank guarantees are a third line of security as projects tap funding from the international and local financing communities, with loan rates in the country remaining high. Total investment in the winning projects is estimated at $4bn.

To win over companies wary of investing in a country with a recent sovereign default history, the Argentine government has set up a series of guarantees, including a $680m government trust fund called FODER. That is guaranteed by the national treasury in case of default on payment of the 20-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) by the country’s wholesale power market administrator CAMMESA.

Investors adopt wait-and-see stance as doubts persist in Argentina


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The World Bank will back the projects up to $500,000 per MW for each. This will be paid in case of lack of payment of earlier guarantees, and if developers want to exercise a put option through which the government will acquire the projects at a price of $500,000 per MW of capacity on average.

Most companies only participated in the tender because of this guarantee programme, against the background of a nation that had contracted over 1GW of wind in recent years, but only eventually built around 200MW.

Finance minister Luis Caputo said that the approval by the World Bank’s board shows the “confidence that Argentina has conquered” from the multilateral institutions.

Since early 2016, when the current president of Argentine Mauricio Macri was sworn in, he has taken steps to renegotiate the country’s remaining defaulted debt in order to put in place a programme to attract foreign investment to revive its crumbling infrastructure sector, including for renewable power.

According to the government, companies that requested World Bank guarantees include both foreign and Argentine groups. Argentine power company, Genneia, for example, requested a $50m World Bank guarantee for its 100MW Pomona 1 wind project, the biggest guarantee request for a wind farm.

In solar, the largest guarantee sought was by China’s JinkoSolar, which is seeking a $40m guarantee for its 80MW Iglesia-Guañizuli solar PV project.

A total of 1.5GW of wind and 900MW of solar was contracted that has to built over two years – the first step in the government’s plan to reach a 20% clean energy supply by 2025.

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March 3, 2017 at 06:26AM