Samsung, one of the world¡¯s leading manufacturers of semiconductor products and consumer electronics, plans to invest 5.5 billion dollars in developing and manufacturing photovoltaic products by 2020. This commitment is part of the company¡¯s long-term ¡®Green Management Plan¡¯. The electronics giant announced that, in order to unify its energy business and create synergies, it will transfer its solar business from Samsung Electronics to Samsung SDI on July 1. Samsung will direct most of the funds towards ramping up its production capacity.
Samsung modules have been on the market since the second half of last year, and have an efficiency of 18.5%. By the second half of this year, the company says it plans to increase this to 19%. It also aims to continue on its quest for reducing the cost of silicon photovoltaic modules. Samsung¡¯s solar strategy is to become a leading integrated solar module manufacturer, and that plan includes the manufacture and sale of inverters and energy storage systems (rechargeable batteries). The company says it plans to introduce its own inverters in 2013.
Reported by Jeanny H. Lim
What do you see as the trends and market forces driving PV technology in the second half of 2011?
The solar market has rapidly grown over the last couple of years and is expected to grow even faster as a result of high oil price and such environmental concern as recent nuclear disaster in Japan. Inevitable price increase of electricity is expected due to oil price which is over US$100 per barrel. Portion of the nuclear power is expected to decreaseto 50% in which case Morgan Stanleyexpects 220 GW alternative energysource is needed. Market size will grom from 17 GW (US$30 billion) in 2010 to 86 GW (US$70 billion) in 2020. Especially, the market doubled in the year of 2010. Market participation by global leading companies will increase in order to dominate the solar market in advance. Such global leading companies moving into the market are GE, TOTAL, TSMC and AUO which possess both the capital strength and high-end technology .TOTAL bought SunPower which is
a leading and highly efficient crystalline manufacturer in 2011. GE moved into the thin-film manufacturing and sales in 2010. TSMC builds up a new manufacturing facility under a joint venture (from 200 MW in 2012 to 900 MW in 2015).
How are PV prices expected to develop in the second half?
ASP of 2011 is expected to be reduced by 20%, comparing to ASP of 2010.
Where do you put your focus this year, in terms of business growth and technology development?
Solar was selected as one of the five future Samsung growth engines in May 2010 and the solar business has achieved the world leading technology with its focus on R&D. Since the second half of 2010, Samsung has produced solar modules with 18.5% efficiency which is a world-leading level based on SP (Screen Printing) technology and developed a higher efficiency module with 19% ready for sales in the second half of 2011. SP is a main solar technology with 80% MS.
In addition, Samsung achieved the world record R&D efficiency level of 20.2% based only on SP technology. This is the world record based on 6 inch wafer which even beats the previous record at 19.6% made in April of this year by Bosch on the same size board.
Samsung has achieved to become close to the world leading level in such high efficiency technology areas as BC (Back Contact) and HIT (Hetero-junction Intrinsic Thin-layer). In BC, Samsung achieved 21% efficiency within 1.5 years based on 6 inch wafer (SunPower 23%, Samsung 21%). In HIT, Samsung achieved 20.7% on 6 inch wafer for the first time among competition (Sanyo 20% (5 inch commercial), Samsung 20.7% (6 inch R&D)). High efficiency solar modules such as BC and HIT are normally based on 5 inch wafer. In this regard, over 20% efficiency based on 6 inch wafer whose size is 40% bigger compared to 5 inch is being considered as a big technology achievement.
In addition, Samsung is also close to the world leading level with more than 14% efficiency in CIGS area whose market is expected to grow fast (highest record 15.5%, average efficiency 14.4%).
Currently, more than 100 R&D people are focusing on developing low-cost and high efficiency modules and at the same time trying to achieve the world leading technologies in both crystalline and thin-film areas.
Jeanny H. Lim is Editor-in-Chief of InterPV. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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