Gigafactories With New Solar PV Module Tech Might Cause Solar Glut in 2021

China-based PV manufacturing industry has possibly over built new Solar PV Module technology for 2021. If global installs follows the 20% annual global growth of recent years then the world will installs 145GW to 160GW of solar. New Solar Gigafactories will increase total global PV to 300GW. Using actual capacity expansion data, PV Tech’s analysis indicates only 200GW of installations in 2021 will offset a period of overcapacity.

PV Tech believes 80-100 GW of old solar module technology will be retired.

Solar makers are getting huge new factories to have a price and technology advantage. They will squeeze out the smaller players.

The shift is to high-efficiency large-area monocrystalline technology shift and becoming ten times bigger than the 2-3 GW/year players.

There are also new more automated production lines in the new factories.

Written by Brian Wang,

64 thoughts on “Gigafactories With New Solar PV Module Tech Might Cause Solar Glut in 2021”

  1. Grid insufficiency due to a lull in wind and cold temperatures led to spot prices of $9000/MWhe in Texas yesterday.

  2. Yes, Palo Verde NPP delivers power at $22-23/MWhe. But was recently targeted for closure by a ballot initiative. So why would a utility suffer the risk of political and regulatory fiat? Profound bias and disinformation drive energy investments as much as technology does.

  3. Ever see a Tesla fire or a cell phone fire? A gas tank fire? H is far safer. edit: hot off the press! Australian company Lavo has debuted a
    hydrogen production, storage and conversion system for the home. It
    stores up to two days' worth of energy from your rooftop solar – and
    should outlast a lithium battery by many years.

  4. If by H you mean hydrogen, then I am glad I am not your neighbor. You expect your city to allow private hydrogen storage tanks?

    With solar panels I can recharge my batteries while you are cut off from the grid and cannot refill your hydrogen tank.

  5. I'll stick with the H in the tank before batteries, but you can go either way as long as the batteries don't lose charge over time. Of course, any kind of power beaming, Earth to Earth or Space Solar, will go thru the clouds.

  6. In a disaster scenario, you want local power + storage. So solar panels plus batteries. Nothing else can compete with this for reliability.

    Also, if you are in the midst of a cloud of smoke so thick your solar panels aren't working, you need to evacuate immediately.

  7. Unfortunately there are physical limits. But there is still room for improvements.

    Long distance transmission of power allows time shifting which reduces the need for storage. Every thousand miles is equivalent to an hour of storage. Just have to see which is cheaper.

    In the late 70s, I read articles about the transmission of power over very long distances using microwave and large antennas in space. Maybe that could be viable in the near future.

  8. Well, my *view* of the plan is the same as yours, only my time frame is unrealistic. This is clearly true, as I was ready to go full blast with Glaser sats in '77, and Criswell LSP in '90. However, global heating is perhaps a factor that will gain someone's attention at some point. You never know! And Bezos has clearly stated that Space Solar is his big project after basic transpo is supplied to Moon and, more importantly, Halo Industrial Park. Now, if we can just figure out '80s radar tech.

  9. This sounds like my argument that launch costs *don't matter* in the logic of ISRU? No matter how cheap launch becomes, you still want to move to non-Earth resources and energy collection, esp 0 g mfg w/ free vacuum and cheap high g. There is great commercial demand for 0 g experimental in-space development projects, now that the set up has been somewhat standardized.

  10. My views on all in-space industrialization always assumes launch costs are 0(zero). Most are so focused on launch costs that they dont realized that has never been the main reason in-space development is zero; I never count the satellite business in leo/geo.

  11. Hydrogen is just a conspiracy theory peddled by left wing radicals. No such element exists.

    (/s because I'm making fun of Dan)

  12. Although Mr. Lantz' view of space solar is unrealistic, I expect it to grow organically as a result of lowering launch costs. 99% of space projects are already solar powered. That will continue to be true in coming decades. With reusable vehicles like Starship, not only will space projects grow and need more power, off planet mining will get a start. At first it will be basic commodities like propellants, oxygen, water, and radiation shielding, but over time they will add others.

    At some point it will make sense to build solar power locally, from local materials. Then later you can export power to Earth. But you won't jump to GW solar power beaming any more than solar on Earth went from powering calculators to GW scale solar farms. It will grow step by step,

  13. US battery storage is due to quadruple this year, to 4 GWh. The battery boom is just getting started.

  14. Definition of fanatic: someone who won't change the subject and won't shut up.

    Dan, I've worked on space solar power, for Boeing, NASA, and the Space Studies Institute. Your view of it is unrealistic, and annoyingly repetitive on this forum. That's why nobody is paying attention to your diatribes. You are just wasting your time, because nobody cares about your posts any more.

  15. Can I have what you're smoking? Solar panels produce even on cloudy days, just not as much. Weather patterns are always in motion due to the Sun heating the equator more relative to the poles.

    If nuclear were truly $0.02/kWh, utilities would be buying bucketloads of them. Actual sales so far is zero. Solar and wind can be bought at those prices today, so that's what they are buying.

  16. If they have oversupply for a year, the price will drop due to competition, and then demand will increase in response. It will be a short-term glut. They are thinking about things like the Biden administration deleting the idiotic solar import tax and extending renewables tax credits. That will boost US demand significantly.

  17. Baby steps, the best you can hope for given sunk costs and current levels of storage r&d. All that really matters, natural gas emits ~50% less carbon dioxide (CO₂) when combusted in a new, efficient natural gas power plant compared with a typical new coal plant. Keep progress moving forward and leave behind those that cant cope to lament the good old days.


  18. Just saw story about spending $T per year to suck CO2 with energy intensive otherwise useless equipment. I like LSP far better, don't you? Bezos sez we need energy. Stay tuned!

  19. If financing a $10B nuclear boiler is impossible without socialism, what chances do you have with $800B ?

    No, infinite returns alone isn't good enough.


  20. Ignoring the really, really, good efficiency you're getting from your solar cells…

    2 TWh is about 1.7 kilotonnes, so a small nuclear bomb. If you think that any government is going to let people walk around with D-cells packing that kind of punch, your faith in people is greater than mine.

  21. Gas and coal are much cheaper than oil. That's the unique selling point of EVs.

    That it's CO2 free from solar/hydro/nuclear/wind is just an added bonus for some customers.

  22. In my experience with hurricanes (well, cyclones, but same difference) the damage is mostly local. It isn't the high voltage lines that go down, it's the supply to your street that got wrecked by a falling tree or something.
    You really would need house by house power supplies.

  23. This is what we want.
    Higher demands mean more volume, meaning more profit for solar companies.
    More profit means more value for R&D finding the new version.
    Each version gets x% more powerful and y% more affordable.
    Allow the cycle to continue as long as possible.

    Eventually the cycle hits diminishing returns but by then we have a solar panel the size of a postage stamp that can power a cruise liner, for 1 dollar a panel.

    Pair this up with next-level batteries. The same market forces will give us D cell batteries that can hold 2 TWh of juice and charge up in 5 seconds.

    Further augment this situation with superconducting power lines so you can pump solar power from the Sahara to Germany and Finland. Why use local solar? And also they have many banks of those D cell batteries charged up so they can survive if the line goes down for a month or two.

  24. The lowering price of battery storage will create a virtuous cycle where lower prices will increase demand and increasing demand will lower prices.

    The best market for utility scale battery storage right now is grid stabilization. Don't understand why every utility in the world isn't installing at least a few units.

  25. I always get a kick out of your made up numbers.

    There won't be any EV storage available as the consumer owned vehicle will be replaced with robotaxi's with less than 2% of todays vehicles on the road.

    Wind/solar occasionally reduces to near zero in infrequent weather events for weeks on end. How do we survive with half our power gone?

    With the cost of made in the USA new nuclear built these days heading for 2 cents a kWh for public power why not keep it simple and stop wasting precious time and resources on complicated expensive and unworkable solutions imported from China.

  26. The transmission lines from the rectenna are not durable is the good doctors point, and a correct one. The storms, lightening etc. don't knock out the power station, they knock out the lines between my "rooftop" and the power station and in multiple places. I have seen a week or more without power, pretty miserable. No AC, no internet, no refrigerator with everything in it going bad, no electric stove, no microwave oven, no charging cell phones or laptops, the list goes on. Even an affordable and powerful battery, charged from a rectenna if you will, and no solar panels would be an improvement.

  27. Actually, compared to current distribution system, the local rectenna is almost as good as on the roof. And the rectenna wires are probably one of the more durable things around, esp compared to solar panels on the roof. The nice H tank is even better, tho.

  28. Power beaming from space doesn't help JS when the local disruption is caused by hurricane damage to the distribution system.

    Not unless he has a private power receiving array on his roof. A hurricane proof one.

  29. Lucky is right you know.

    Total German electricity usage 2019 = 516 TWh
    Solar power 2019 = 47 TWh

    that's 9%, not 6%.

  30. False.

    The technology can contribute a much greater share to the German power mix at particularly sunny times. In April 2020, it reached a new record shar of 23 percent over a whole week and a daily record of almost 28 percent, research institute Fraunhofer ISE found. At about noon, when both sun intensity and usually also power consumption are at peak levels, solar power can account for more than 40 percent of Germany’s power production. Overall, solar power arrays fed over 47 TWh of power into the grid in 2019.

  31. Business does not pay costs or taxes, customers do. Or the business will go broke! edit: unless the business has a monopoly, as a utility does, then it just raises the price, even if it should go broke from (prohibited) competition.

  32. I think the EVs were sold as very much more efficient than ICE merely by economy of scale in power plant, using fossil fuel, v ICE. Getting the E in another way is just an additional bonus. Here it comes!

  33. The dream of solving Earth problems on Earth is THE problem. Those dreaming of having jobs enforcing the "solution" find it attractive. Most are simply unaware of O'Neill.

  34. Only power beaming ideally from Space and/or H storage locally can protect from Earth disruptions. What if the smoke from fires kept the roof collectors from working?

  35. Because Space Solar uses power beaming, the customers are willing to pay, if they have no other power avail. Military bases first. Then, you build them in Space, with non launched Space resources, for biggggg savings. As O'Neill sez to do. At scale, cheaper than just the delivery system for Earth solutions.

  36. Personally what I see is this. Residential scale energy storage prices keep dropping and performance keeps rising due to an unprecedented investment of capital and brain computing cycles in new technologies. One of two things are going to happen, maybe both. My belief is that either the cost of solar panels+energy storage drops to the current cost of solar panels alone today, or a new high performance, low cost residential energy storage technology will be invented and dominate.
    Add to this the requirement, and also voluntary adoption, of building new housing with the connections to easily and cheaply add on solar energy and over time more and more people will adopt it.
    I have lived in Florida and rural areas most of my life, and have sat through repeated grid power outages caused by hurricanes and whatever. I am sure people in California can relate. The ability to be self sufficient in the face of grid power failure is a very important feature in and of itself and a driving factor. Nothing like sitting in 90+ degrees with 100% humidity, massive direct sunlight and no AC to make you a believer.

  37. You're spoiling the moment. If we all concentrate the Uni-gaia-corn will come down from the heavens and heal the land with restorative environmental justice.

  38. I love how we pretend that solar panels are powering our EVs when its really methane.

    "All hail our new leader, propped up by gas!"

  39. Depends, does space based solar get the same subsidies and required purchases that ground based solar gets?

  40. To be clear the utilities don't pay 7x more for solar, the consumers of electricity pay 7x more for solar because the utilities pass the costs along.

    I mean if there is one thing PG&E is good at it is passing bills along to their customers.

  41. The grid mix in the US is headed for settling at the following based on current demand with just some intraday storage and dispatchable load to EVs and electric water heaters – percent energy by type: 36% solar, 24% wind, 20% nuclear, 7% hydro, 13% fossil.
    Grinding out the GHG of that last 13% fossil will be slow going yes: pumped hydro, flow batteries, reversible turbines on the hydro, Allam cycle with carbon capture gas plants, Siemens Gamesa hot rock storage, gasified biomass etc. It may never really happen – but going from 62.6% fossil now to 13% fossil is a huge improvement.

  42. but a good one:

    Photovoltaic Investigation on Lunar Surface (PILS):
    PILS is a technology demonstration that is based on an International
    Space Station test platform for validating solar cells that convert
    light to electricity. It will demonstrate advanced photovoltaic
    high-voltage use for lunar surface solar arrays useful for longer
    mission durations. It is being developed at Glenn Research Center in

  43. In the US, utilities are required to buy solar power from commercial providers at any price. The recent PG&E bankruptcy released documents showing they were paying 7 times more for solar power per kilowatt than conventional power purchases.

  44. 85% of the Earth's surface is not really suitable to commercial solar installations. Too much coastal haze, too far from population centers, land costs are too high, etc. The Germans installed enough solar cells to power the entire country. But, it is only producing 6% of total demand. Because the sun does not shine in Germany.

  45. There is no such thing as utility scale solar power. There is only solar + gas. The grid scale storage and the continent wide HVDC webs of transmission required to decarbonize the grid with wind and solar is a much harder problem than practical fusion power and is not in anyway a soon to be solved problem.

    100% wind and solar actually means 1/3 wind and solar and 2/3 gas + hydro, with installed capacity for 100%.

  46. There will be an industry realignment and price which is good as it will help retire more coal generation and slow even further gas turbine generation.
    There is already a case building for building twice the capacity needed of solar and wind and with some storage getting to 100% renewable energy.

  47. Congrats to the new winners, those that cannot adapt to an ever changing world should rightfully fall by the wayside. Good news for utility scale pv, but I still have no expectation rooftop will be much lower than fission's price point.

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