Solar manufacturers are quickly crunching the numbers after the third quarter ended a few weeks ago, and in a couple of weeks we'll get a good feel for how bad the quarter really was. If the stock market was any indication, it was a disaster, but falling polysilicon prices and more certainty in major markets should help some manufacturers.
In the meantime, solar manufacturers broke another record, introduced an innovative new product, and announced more manufacturing in the U.S. of A. Here are some of the highlights this week.
Just another broken record
I've been critical of Suntech's seeming expansion for the sake of expansion and, given the oversupply of modules in the industry, think this could be the company's Achilles' heel. Being the biggest is great, but when your margins are shrinking and your debt is growing, there needs to be a rethinking of that strategy.
The integration of solar panels and inverters is a natural next step that most manufacturers will likely take, and this week Canadian Solar
A commercial product called CommercialAC will begin the series, but eventually Canadian Solar will offer a similar product for all markets.
I fully expect this trend to continue as manufacturers try to figure out how to cut balance-of-system costs along with their own manufacturing costs.
More domestic solar manufacturing
Solar manufacturers, particularly those with plants in the U.S., have caught a lot of flack in the Solyndra fallout, but two of the largest manufacturers are building giant plants without any (federal) government backing. First Solar's
The 13% efficient panels are superior to First Solar's current modules but the facility won't start production until 2013.
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