With a rise in need for renewable energy projects across the world, the demand for solar panels has seen a drastic increase over the past several years. While a significant number of global solar modules manufactures are located in Asia, other regions have also started seeing an increase in the production volumes with the entry of new players. Currently, most of the solar modules are manufactured from crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells made of multicrystalline and monocrystalline silicon. Chinese companies continue to occupy a major share in the global production of photovoltaic (PV) modules, followed by Japan.
After starting as a wafer manufacturer in 2006, China’s Jinko Solar is now a producer of photovoltaics and a developer of solar projects. Employing more than 15,000 people, the company has five production sites. The company, which offers polycrystalline photovoltaic modules, launched Eagle Black and Eagle Dual modules in early 2016.
While the Eagle Black module is a nano-scale etched module with a light-absorption rate of 99.7%, the Eagle Dual is a dual-glass module that has low degradation rates. In 2015, it shipped 4.51 GW of modules. During 2017, the company expects to ship 8.5-9 GW modules. With a production cost of 37 cents per watt, the company has one of the lowest manufacturing costs in the solar industry.
Image: Solar panel are manufactured from crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells. Photo courtesy of Anusorn P nachol/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Yingli Solar is one of the major solar panel manufacturers globally, with shipments of over 15GW. Headquartered in Baoding, China, the company has more than 30 regional subsidiaries. In 2012 and 2013, it was the world’s largest PV module manufacturer. The company produces crystalline silicon solar PV modules, including both, monocrystalline and multicrystalline. In 2015, it introduced CleanARC anti-reflective (AR) glass coating for all Yingli product lines to enable panels to generate more energy.
Located in the province of Jiangsu, China, Trina Solar is one of the world’s leading solar module manufacturers, with total shipments of 11GW by the end of 2014. Founded in 1997, the company develops and produces ingots, wafers, solar cells and solar modules. In October 2016, the company announced that its 'Honey Plus' multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) solar module, which contains 120 pieces of P-type mc-Si solar cells (156x78mm2), has set a new world record of 19.86% aperture efficiency. Recently, Trina solar modules gained approval for use by French PV industry professionals to build power plants.
In 2016, Trina Solar achieved an average efficiency of 20.16% for its industrially-produced P-type multi-crystalline silicon cells featuring passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) technology. Asia Clean Capital (ACC) had agreed to co-develop with Trina Solar an identified solar pipeline of more than 300MW in China over the next three years. In August last year, Trina Solar signed a deal worth $1.1bn with an investor consortium to go private.
Image: Chinese companies continue to occupy a major share in the global production of photovoltaic (PV) modules. Photo courtesy of start08/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
JA Solar Holdings:
Based in Shanghai, China, JA Solar is involved in the manufacture of solar cell and solar module products. It also manufactures and sells monocrystalline and multicrystalline solar cells. The company sells its products in Germany, Sweden, Spain, South Korea, and the US. In January 2015, JA Solar and Powerway PV formed a joint venture to set up a solar module manufacturing facility in South Africa. The company’s modules are used in 70MW Moree solar farm in Australia and a 132.5MW facility in Philippines. JA Solar's salt mist resistance PV modules have cleared the Double Standard IEC 61701 Salt Mist Corrosion Test (Severity Level 6) carried out by TÜV NORD in March 2015.
A manufacturer of solar PV modules and a provider of turn-key solar energy solutions, Canadian Solar has production facilities in Canada, China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Brazil. It produces ingots, wafers, solar cells, solar PV modules, solar power systems and specialized solar products. In the past 15 years, the company has shipped more than 16 GW of panels.
While a significant number of its manufacturing are located in Canada and China, the Ontario plant has a production capacity of over 500 MW per year. Its modules are powered by 156 x 156 mm (6 inch) high efficiency mono-crystalline or poly-crystalline solar cells.
Hanwha Q CELLS:
Headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Hanwha Q CELLS is a manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) solar cells founded in February 2015 by the integration of Hanwha SolarOne and Hanwha Q CELLS. With manufacturing facilities in China, Malaysia and South Korea, it develops and produces crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, panels, and silicon ingots and wafers. In April 2015, signed an agreement with NextEra Energy Resources to supply 1.5GW of solar modules for the latter's facilities in the US.