Highest Ever Quarterly Solar Manufacturing Capacity Expansion Announcements In Q4’17

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Mark Osborne, the Senior News Editor for PV Tech, revealed last week that the fourth quarter of 2017 saw the highest ever recorded levels of new solar PV manufacturing expansion announcements for a quarter, totaling around 40 gigawatts (GW) across the thin-film, solar cell & module assembly, and integrated cell & module manufacturing segments.

JA Solar high efficiency PERCIUM solar cells.When it comes to the inside-baseball of solar manufacturing and production, PV Tech provides some of the most important and up-to-date information, thanks in large part to the work of Mark Osborne and Solar Media’s Head of Solar Intelligence, Finlay Colville. Mark Osborne specifically has long been covering the various solar PV manufacturing expansion announcements and the resulting impacts of such announcements.

Earlier this year, Osborne highlighted the fact that expansion announcements fell dramatically in the third quarter due in large part to the huge expansion plans announced over the first half of the year.

However, writing late last week, Mark Osborne revealed that fourth quarter announcements blew out expectations, resulting in “the highest recorded gigawatts of new expansion announcements” for a quarter. Specifically, announcements totaled around 40 GW across the various segments, a massive shift from the 50 GW recorded during the first half of the year and the under 5 GW announced during the third quarter.

More specifically, there was a total of 1.2 GW worth of thin-film expansion plans, in excess of 28 GW of c-Si solar cell expansion plans, and nearly 10 GW worth of module assembly plans. There was also another 5 GW worth of speculative plans, but even if you dismiss these plans until they are made more concrete, the fourth quarter still beat out all records since the beginning of 2014.

Osborne is quick to note, however, that “the nature of PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcements” is not necessarily written in stone, and that “the devil is in the detail and lack of detail as always should be followed by a level of cynicism that such plans ever leave the drawing board.” What comes to pass need not necessarily match up neatly with what was announced or predicted.

Mark Osborne’s full rundown on the fourth quarter, including monthly reviews and an update on the ‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) members, can be read in full here.

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Joshua S Hill

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