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Solar cell production capacity expanding

Suppliers estimate the country will be able to generate 18GW solar cells by end-2011, from 8GW last year and 6.5GW in 2009.

China makers of solar cells are stepping up expansion efforts to take advantage of climbing demand. The largest manufacturing base for the line, the country produced 8,000MW of solar cells or 50 percent of the worldwide volume last year.

Solar cells

China is the largest manufacturing base for solar cells.

Suppliers estimate the country’s capacity will reach 18GW by end-2011, from 8GW last year and 6.5GW in 2009. Europe remains the key market, representing 81 percent of global requirements. North America and Asia, which are entering a fast-growth phase, are expected to follow. Worldwide PV installations rose to 18.2GW, surging by 139 percent YoY in 2010, according to market research company Solarbuzz.

JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd raised capacity to 2,000MW in 2010, surpassing First Solar of the US and positioning itself as the biggest manufacturer in China and the world.

Fellow maker Suntech Power has also been topping the US player since 3Q10, relegating the latter to third place. The fourth in rank is another local venture, Yingli Green.

This year, JA has entered into an agreement with the local government of Hefei in Anhui province to build a factory for solar PV products. The first phase of the construction will commence before the end of the year and operations by 2012. The targeted annual capacity is 3GW. Recently, the company started operating its 20 new production lines.

Suntech Power and Yingli Green, meanwhile, are penetrating the vertical industrial chain through silicon slice processing and by opening power stations. This is to lower costs and widen profit margins.

In addition to rising demand, China makers are looking to benefit from new opportunities. The Japan government, for instance, may plan to install a 1GW PV system where the quake happened, according to Digitimes Research. In Europe, higher electricity prices may push solar energy adoption further.

To keep up with these developments, the local industry is waiting for R&D on and production of PECVD equipment to gather steam after the first local one came out of Shanghai. The supply of the high-end machine, which is key to the manufacture of thin-film solar cells, remains dominated by Applied Materials.

Note: This article "Solar cell production capacity expanding" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to- business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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