A huge oversupply of solar panels planned for production in 2008 will drop capacity utilization to 0.46, according to a report published by The Information Network.
“In the past few years we have witnessed a stampede of startups entering the solar cell market using thin film technology because of a shortage of polysilicon material used to make crystalline cells,” noted Dr. Castellano, President of The Information Network. “At the same time, existing suppliers have announced large expansions as a means to reduce production costs and gain a competitive edge.”
At the same time, polysilicon suppliers have also initiated competitive capacity expansion plans.
Solar equipment suppliers such as Applied Materials and Oerlikon are selling amorphous silicon technology. Traditional crystalline and polycrystalline silicon solar panels with efficiencies between 15% and 22% compare to thin film amorphous silicon of 6% to 7%, which will possibility increase to 10% efficiencies in 2009 using bilayer micromorph structures. CdTe (cadmium telluride) technology, led by First Solar, is already achieving 10% efficiency. Thus, amorphous silicon is two years behind CdTe....MORE