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Swiss Solar announces new European PV module factory

Swiss Solar AG has started construction on a new PV manufacturing facility in Europe. It has already invested CHF 50 million (around €47 million) in the project. 

Swiss Solar will manufacture bifacial PV modules at the new facility, which is expected to see an overall investment of CHF 300 million over the next five years. The company has also increased its product warranties to 25 years.

More details on where the facility is located and the capacities it will manufacture will follow next month.

Promising markets

In 2020, solar energy became cheaper than coal as a source of electricity in markets like the U.S., EU member states, and Latin America, among others, says Swiss Solar.

For instance, according to research by the International Energy Agency, distributed PV will account for almost 40% of new capacity additions in Brazil in 2021-2022. There is also a boom in Chile’s utility-scale solar market. Overall, the country’s solar industry is expected to rapidly grow over the coming decade and the situation is the same in Mexico.

Government programs and subsidies for solar energy are popular in both North and South America, which helps to accelerate the adoption of bifacial PV technology in these markets. In keeping with data from the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. solar industry passed 100 GW of installed solar capacity during the first quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, according to consultancy, Wood Mackenzie, bifacial modules will account for 17% of the global PV module market in 2024. ITRPV (the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic) has further predicted that the market share of such modules will increase by at least 35% by 2030.

Investing in the large-scale production of bifacial PV modules of more than 500 Wp in size allows Swiss Solar to enter these promising markets with a sought-after product.

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Longer warranties

With high demand for bifacial PV modules, warranties that ensure only a minimum base of electricity production must increase. Module output production will degrade to some degree, but they should not lose more than 10-20% over 25 years.

Generally, performance drops by 0.5 to 1% per year. As a rule, a performance warranty will guarantee 90% production for the first 10 years and 80% for up to 25 years. However, these 25-year warranties pose an enormous financial risk to manufacturers.

Due to the durability of bifacial PV modules and their capacity to weather different types of degradation, these panels are expected to have longer lifespans. As a result, they have longer warranties.

Swiss Solar pays particular attention to the quality of its products and performs obligatory monitoring of module parameters and testing of finished products during the production process.

This approach excludes poor-quality products from reaching customers. Consequently, the company has increased its product warranties to 25 years.S

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Source: pv magazine