Solar Panel production- China eats our lunch

Discussion in 'Energy' started by Trajan, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. Trajan
    Offline

    Trajan conscientia mille testes

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Messages:
    29,048
    Thanks Received:
    4,751
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    The Bay Area Soviet
    Ratings:
    +4,756
    Solyndra, a co. I am very familiar with is featured here…..

    Short back story- In 2005 they got VC money and a huuuge loan guarantee from Booosh. They built plant #1 and got going in early 07. They have NEVER made a dime.

    Some 20 months ago as obama was just taking office, they told him there was another loan guarantee to build out Solyndra ( the results of which I have been in and can be seen from the Nimitz Freeway- 880) to fit his Green Tech. revolution ( he has given guarantees for others too, named in the article) ....he ignored market forces which were very apparent, ( china had basically beaten us to the punch) and they also convinced him , that a technology breakthrough is ‘just around the corner’, the thin films route, so they were going to build with that in mind as to tool emplaced etc..


    Meanwhile the Chinese chose a technology, ( the correct one) and has been building for several years, manned their battle stations and now own the market for solar powered technology, thin films in not cost effective, needing that ‘leap’ to make it as efficient as to what’s currently manufactured now , there by not viable as a product even if its mass manufactured.


    So, what have we left? A constituency, “hope” and loan guarantees to be made good .
    ( a big bunch of money we will be feeding their creditors and the co. directly very shortly. to keep it alive). Bollocks….

    IF any politician no matter the party even attempts to shut down any further subsidies to Solyndra or its sisters in the same losing bus. the “you’re killing jobs’”, “sending jobs to china” crap no matter how foolish, fact factually inaccurate or how badly keeping them open runs against common sense, it won’t matter, they are now votes and its "Green man Green"…..welcome to the trough.



    Silicon Valley’s Solar Innovators Retool to Catch Up to China


    FREMONT, Calif. — A few years ago, Silicon Valley start-ups like Solyndra, Nanosolar and MiaSolé dreamed of transforming the economics of solar power by reinventing the technology used to make solar panels and deeply cutting the cost of production.

    Founded by veterans of the Valley’s chip and hard-drive industries, these companies attracted billions of dollars in venture capital investment on the hope that their advanced “thin film” technology would make them the Intels and Apples of the global solar industry.

    But as the companies finally begin mass production — Solyndra just flipped the switch on a $733 million factory here last month — they are finding that the economics of the industry have already been transformed, by the Chinese. Chinese manufacturers, heavily subsidized by their own government and relying on vast economies of scale, have helped send the price of conventional solar panels plunging and grabbed market share far more quickly than anyone anticipated.

    As a result, the California companies, once so confident that they could outmaneuver the competition, are scrambling to retool their strategies and find niches in which they can thrive.

    “The solar market has changed so much it’s almost enough to make you want to cry,” said Joseph Laia, chief executive of MiaSolé. “We have spent a lot more time and energy focusing on costs a year or two before we thought we had to.”

    The challenges come despite extensive public and private support for the Silicon Valley companies. Solyndra, one of the biggest firms, has raised more than $1 billion from investors. The federal government provided a $535 million loan guarantee for the company’s new robot-run, 300,000-square-foot solar panel factory, known as Fab 2.

    “The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra,” President Obama said in May during an appearance at the then-unfinished factory. But during the year that Solyndra’s plant was under construction, competition from the Chinese helped drive the price of solar modules down 40 percent. Solyndra rushed to start cranking out panels on Sept. 13, two months ahead of schedule, and it has increased marketing efforts to make the case to customers that Solyndra’s more expensive panels are cost-effective when installation charges are factored in.

    conclusion at-

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/business/energy-environment/13solar.html?src=me&ref=business
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 3
  2. loosecannon
    Offline

    loosecannon Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,888
    Thanks Received:
    263
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +264
    Trajan, I used to work in this industry and a friend owns the biggest wholesale network for solar components. The problem is one of labor costs and the speed with which China can ramp up an industry.

    Thin film is far more cost effective at our labor rates, but not at Chinese labor rates. Esp when China also subsidizes new and increasingly high tech industries.

    You might notice too how China subsidizes their industries sensibly while we kind of throw money at hope and change.

    We are not the nation that built NASA and launched the first moon mission anymore.

    I hope we fare much better in the development of better battery technology. But I doubt it, even R & D costs a fraction as much in China as it does here.

    China is a communist corporation. And they are cleaning capitalism's clock!
     
  3. Mad Scientist
    Offline

    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    23,934
    Thanks Received:
    5,211
    Trophy Points:
    270
    Ratings:
    +7,676
    But why is China busy making oil and natural gas deals all over the world then? So they can run the production lines that manufacture goods to be sold to the countries duped by the "green jobs scam".

    If they could they would sell us all of our marijuana and cocaine, not because they think it's any good, but because we want it. If you really care about American jobs you'll demand tariffs on all foreign produced goods.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  4. Trajan
    Offline

    Trajan conscientia mille testes

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Messages:
    29,048
    Thanks Received:
    4,751
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    The Bay Area Soviet
    Ratings:
    +4,756
    yes I believe I alluded to both.It is not cost effective. Its as simple as that. Whatever excuse we wish to employ, in the end it doesn't matter.





    we have been subsidizing ours too.


    agreed.



    agreed, sadly we are not.


    this the internet and trust is hard to come by but I'll say it anyway, trust me when I tell you, that I speak to folks who work in R&D, at the tip of the spear on this and lithium technology, and we are not close, in fact we are maybe 20% of the way there when bush gave them their first stipend guarantee.

    Even then, it just may not be doable, comparative labor costs or not. We think the anser is think films but even then...see my closing blurb.

    Chinese industry also has several other points that take costs down which we will never lose- a real Osha type authority as over-watch meaning little to no safety regs., an ability to basically take technology at will and use it patents be damned and in that any co. who gets access to their market has to lcense aspects of their technology to them meaning huge R&D cost savings and a biggey- no Environmental regulatory agency worth speaking of.

    I will look for some pics I took when I was in Dalian watching a Fab get started up. From ground breaking to near completion, tool installs etc. its a horror show.


    yup. But- they do not have an educated workforce, even on the basic level, they have to learn everything, though they are trying to change that ( and we are going backwards ) . AND within the next 20 years their demographic bomb as to one child regs and the a-fore mentioned Heath aspects of their workers will start taking a toil along with environmental aspects as well.


    they can within 5 years make panels so cheap it just might be worth giving it a shot, say for ,my home. I had a guy here 6 months ago. With a;ll fo the new discounts and gov. subsidy etc. 30% right off the top, even then, he looked me straight in the face and told me even with just a 2% inflationary increase in energy costs, I would be looking at minimum 18 years to see any daylight on the investment in solar panels etc,...........

    no effing way am I or anyone in their right mind especially now, going to drop 25 k on something that will take 18 years to see clear of and that does not include loss of interest on that capital in the intervening years, that I can get in a meager 3% fund.
     
  5. loosecannon
    Offline

    loosecannon Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,888
    Thanks Received:
    263
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +264
    at present costs photovoltaics are not cost effective and won't be unless they are subsidized, which is what has driven demand of late, or unless there is a breakthru like thin film. It sounded like such a good idea when it was first introduced.

    CA is going hog wild with solar power and the technology is all about using solar to heat water or run heat engines.

    There are tons of really good alternatives out there beyond photovoltaics. Water power, tidal power, wave power, current power, solar hot water, geothermal (which is practically a lock since the oil industry pioneered deep drilling).

    But the real issue is better batteries. Or some other better storage device. What ever happened to the "fuel cells"?

    I will take your word on lithium ion batteries still being way out. I say we need to try harder and hope. An all electric platform is the best option if we can overcome energy storage issues.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  6. mdn2000
    Offline

    mdn2000 BANNED

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,766
    Thanks Received:
    278
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    conservative hell california
    Ratings:
    +278
    We should quit making solar panels, such a tremendous waste of energy, further they are non-renewable.

    Solar is not Green Energy, Solar is an energy consumer. Not an energy source.
     
  7. Old Rocks
    Online

    Old Rocks Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    46,381
    Thanks Received:
    5,398
    Trophy Points:
    1,840
    Location:
    Portland, Ore.
    Ratings:
    +10,254
    A possibility here

    Green Car Congress: Rechargeable Zinc-Air Battery Company Approved to Receive $6.8M in Loans and Tax Credits from the State of Oregon and City of Portland

    ReVolt Technology, LLC, a company that is developing rechargeable zinc-air batteries (earlier post), has been approved to receive a package of loans and tax credits from Oregon and Portland authorities totaling approximately $6.8 million, including support from the Oregon Department of Energy’s Small Scale Energy Loan Program (SELP), which is intended to promote energy conservation and renewable energy resource development.

    Upon final closing, the SELP funding and incentives will further enhance ReVolt’s research and development work in a public-private partnership producing advanced battery systems for electric vehicles.

    ReVolt has selected a site in Portland’s Airport Way Urban Renewal Area to serve as its headquarters and expects to begin battery development and HQ operations there in October, supporting approximately 150 jobs between 2010 and 2015.

    ReVolt says that the $6.8 million in funding support from Oregon, combined with the $5 million in federal funding from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) (earlier post), will support its North American business development efforts. Under ARPA-E’s “Batteries for Electrical Energy Storage in Transportation” (BEEST) program, ReVolt will develop a powerful, safe and environmentally-sustainable rechargeable zinc-air battery system for electric vehicle applications.

    Using zinc, a globally-abundant industrial mineral, ReVolt’s rechargeable batteries offer superior energy performance—up to triple the energy density of lithium-ion, according to the company—at a significantly lower price. ReVolt’s durable zinc-air batteries pose zero heat and volatility risks during operation, making them well-suited for many vehicle applications prioritizing safety and performance. When fully depleted, the batteries degrade into environmentally-benign compounds.
     
  8. Old Rocks
    Online

    Old Rocks Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    46,381
    Thanks Received:
    5,398
    Trophy Points:
    1,840
    Location:
    Portland, Ore.
    Ratings:
    +10,254
    First Solar seems to be doing very well with thin film.

    Renewable Energy Focus - First Solar announces 380 MW increase in orders for 2011

    First Solar announces 380 MW increase in orders for 2011
    11 October 2010

    The company reports that it has signed agreements with 7 key customers for a 380 MW increase in orders for 2011 over previously announced volumes.
    The expanded contracts are with existing customers and will serve predominantly European markets.

    "Our customers continue to expect robust growth in the market for solar electricity in Europe next year," said Stephan Hansen, managing director of First Solar's European sales and customer service organisation. "The additional volumes will allow First Solar to continue to scale and contribute to making solar electricity more affordable globally."

    The new contracts were all signed in recent weeks and follow announcements that First Solar is planning to add manufacturing capacity in Germany and France in order to better meet local demand and to encourage the development of the market for utility-scale solar electricity.
     
  9. Old Rocks
    Online

    Old Rocks Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    46,381
    Thanks Received:
    5,398
    Trophy Points:
    1,840
    Location:
    Portland, Ore.
    Ratings:
    +10,254
    2.7 gigawats of annual production for one company is pretty impressive.

    First Solar to create 600 U.S. jobs | Green Tech - CNET News

    Thin-film solar manufacturer First Solar announced Thursday it's building two new manufacturing plants to accommodate an expected influx of work.

    One plant will be built in the U.S. and the other in Vietnam, but the company has not released any details on exactly where it plans to build them within those countries.

    Both plants are scheduled to be completed by 2012 and to create jobs for 600 people apiece. Together the plants, once fully operational, are expected to produce 500 megawatts' worth of thin-film photovoltaic modules annually, according to First Solar.

    The introduction of the new plants, coupled with previously announced expansions of existing plants in Germany, France, Malaysia, and Ohio in the U.S., will bring the company's yearly production capacity for thin-film solar modules up to 2.7 gigawatts.



    Read more: First Solar to create 600 U.S. jobs | Green Tech - CNET News
     
  10. Old Rocks
    Online

    Old Rocks Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    46,381
    Thanks Received:
    5,398
    Trophy Points:
    1,840
    Location:
    Portland, Ore.
    Ratings:
    +10,254
    One of the newest developments, hardly the biggest here in the last year.

    Portland Solar Manufacturing Facility Set to Expand | ThePortlander

    The Oregon Business Development Department and officials from MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (NYSE: WFR), a global leader in the manufacture and sale of wafers and related products to the semiconductor and solar industries, today announced the expansion of MEMC’s Portland, Oregon solar manufacturing facility. The facility was obtained through MEMC’s recent acquisition of Solaicx.

    MEMC’s Portland facility has developed proprietary continuous crystal growth manufacturing technology which yields low-cost, high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon wafers for the photovoltaic solar industry. This technology allows for very high-volume crystal growth compared to the silicon ingots produced in the traditional precision semiconductor manufacturing process.

    The company estimates that the Oregon plant will ramp up from about 60 megawatts (MW) in annual production capacity at the time of acquisition, to approximately 300 MW of capacity in 2011. The Oregon plant is expected to employ approximately 130 full time employees after the capacity ramp.

    “This is great news for Oregon and for our growing solar industry,” said Tim McCabe, the director of Business Oregon, who attended the Solar Power International show along with the MEMC officials. “Market leaders such as MEMC are a critical piece of our plans to grow Oregon’s solar industry. Oregon is committed to shortening the supply chain, driving costs down and growing demand for solar power.”
     

Share This Page