Domestic solar module supply chain buzz at RE+ 2022

solar panels in the sun

Underneath the positive vibes of RE+ and the passing of the IRA is still this awkward reality: A ton of solar modules are being detained at the border by U.S. Customs as they enforce the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). Analysts at ROTH Capital Partners put the number at 3 GW since the law was enacted, with the total by year’s end in the 9 GW to 12 GW range.

That’s a big deal, and no one is ready to discuss it on record (or knows how this issue starts to resolve), but we are following it as closely as we can.

Meanwhile, module companies that are not caught up in the UFLPA, and some key North America PV component providers, made several big announcements last week in Anaheim.

REC solar module

REC Group, presented its latest high-efficiency solar panel at RE+ 2022 for the U.S. market for the first time. The new REC Alpha Pure-R features heterojunction (HJT) cells in the large G12 format in a patented panel design. REC’s newest product delivers power output of up to 430 Wp, while keeping the module under 21 square feet. The REC Alpha Pure-R is ideal for residential installations where space is limited. Production just started at REC’s new production lines in Singapore, doubling REC’s Alpha product line capacity from 600 MW to 1.2 GW.

Solar Solutions Group, official licensee of Electrolux branded solar products, is partnering with AIONRISE for the manufacture of Electrolux solar modules for the North American market and beyond. The Electrolux brand, especially premium brand AEG, has been steadily growing around the globe. In early 2022 1 million AEG solar modules were sold globally, and the company is well on its way to the second million.

U.S.-based AIONRISE was selected for this entry in North America because of its state of the art manufacturing facility located in the European country of Georgia.

“Our automated manufacturing facilities are located in Georgia and are certified by TÜV Rheinland according to UL and IEC standards. We rely on Swiss and German manufacturing technology and high quality European sourced components for the production of our panels and we are extremely confident that we will provide the USA consumer with the true Electrolux experience,” said Shokhrukh Baratov CBDO & Co-founder of AIONRISE.

Panasonic evervolt

Panasonic Eco Systems North America unveiled two new lines of all-black compact EverVolt solar modules. The new 430W/420W HK Black Series panels use half-cut cells and heterojunction technology with gapless connections. Adding to Panasonic’s suite of modules made with Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact (PERC) technology, the new 400W/390W VK Black Series modules provide eco-conscious homeowners with a greater range of solar options at a more accessible price point. Both new models are covered under Panasonic’s EverVolt AllGuard All System Warranty when purchased with EverVolt ESS 2.0, which covers solar panels and battery storage when bundled together. Both module series will be available Spring 2023.

Star Solar made its official debut. Billed as the first woman-owned solar module company, Star has been careful to select manufacturing partners from regions outside the geo-political zones that are impacting the U.S. solar supply chain. Currently, Star’s modules are manufactured in Australia. However, the company hopes to open a domestic manufacturing facility in the coming years. The STAR 440W module and STAR 400W module are tailored to residential and commercial customers, featuring a sleek, all-black design and an 25-year product and 25-year performance warranty. 

North America-based Heliene, as noted in this feature, is focused on establishing a domestic, low-carbon solar supply chain to support its growth strategy in North America. The module assembler entered into a memorandum of understanding with Canadian Premium Sand Inc. (CPS) related to its patterned solar glass being developed in Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada. Solar glass is tough to procure outside of China, and this will be North America’s first-ever integrated glass manufacturing facility to produce glass for photovoltaic solar panels.

“Amid exploding solar demand and trade volatility, our customers seek peace of mind that they are receiving the highest quality, competitively priced solar modules exactly when and where they need them,” stated Martin Pochtaruk, President of Heliene. “Having CPS supply us with a low-carbon glass, free of any geopolitical pressures is an enormous leap forward in the right direction.”

A related sand-processing facility will be placed roughly 160 kms north that will process the low iron silica sand to support the production of low-iron premium clarity glass at the Selkirk site. Heliene’s anticipated glass demand in 2024 reflects over 40% of CPS’ production capability for Phase 1 of the new facility.

Just weeks after the Inflation Reduction Act was passed, Endurans Solar said it will be building on its position as the country’s leading domestic backsheet manufacturer. Significant commercial volumes of Endurans HP backsheets are already being manufactured in Nashua, N.H., but accommodate anticipated demand both in the US and overseas, Endurans Solar is also executing plans to significantly increase its US backsheet manufacturing capacity.

The company is currently finalizing site selection for a new manufacturing plant, with the new line expected to become operational in mid-2023. The Endurans HP backsheet is manufactured using a unique, lamination-free, co-extrusion process that delivers superior protective qualities, based on a novel material stack.

Not specifically connected to a push into North America, but an expansion to watch: India’s Goldi Solar unveiled its new and landmark product offering HELOC̣ Plus, a high-efficiency and low on carbon module series with Heterojunction technology. Subsequently, it will expand its capacity to 5 GW.

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