US Solar Manufacturer CubicPV Abandons 10GW Plant Amidst Collapsing Prices

Feb 9, 2024 02:10 PM ET
  • US solar manufacturer CubicPV abandons plans for 10GW solar wafer facility due to collapsing prices and high costs. Focus shifts to module development and partnership with Waaree Energies. Meyer Burger and REC Silicon also face challenges in Europe and US.

US solar cell and module manufacturer CubicPV has abandoned its plans for a 10GW solar wafer manufacturing facility in the US due to collapsing wafer prices and high construction costs. The company will now focus on its tandem technology module development and has entered into a multi-year agreement with India's Waaree Energies to supply 1GW of silicon cells each year. Additionally, CubicPV's CEO, Frank Van Mierlo, has stepped down. In a similar move, polysilicon manufacturer REC Silicon is shutting down its facility in Montana, citing increased electricity costs. However, polysilicon production will continue at its new facility in Washington state.

These announcements come after Meyer Burger's decision to close a plant in Germany, raising concerns about the sustainability of solar supply chains in Europe and the US. The collapse in wafer prices and China's capacity expansions are seen as potential factors discouraging firms from venturing into solar manufacturing without long-term protection.

What factors are discouraging firms from venturing into solar manufacturing without long-term protection?

Factors discouraging firms from venturing into solar manufacturing without long-term protection:

  1. Collapsing wafer prices: The decline in wafer prices, particularly due to China's capacity expansions, has made it difficult for firms to compete in the solar manufacturing industry. This has led to reduced profit margins and financial instability, discouraging new entrants.
  2. High construction costs: The cost of setting up a solar manufacturing facility can be substantial, including expenses for land, infrastructure, equipment, and labor. These high upfront costs can deter firms from venturing into the industry without long-term protection or guaranteed returns.
  3. Increased electricity costs: Rising electricity costs, as experienced by REC Silicon in Montana, can significantly impact the profitability of solar manufacturing facilities. Higher energy expenses can erode profit margins and make it financially unviable for firms to continue operations.
  4. Uncertain market conditions: The sustainability of solar supply chains in Europe and the US has come into question, as evidenced by Meyer Burger's plant closure in Germany. Uncertain market conditions, such as fluctuating demand and policy changes, can create an unfavorable business environment for firms considering solar manufacturing ventures.
  5. Lack of long-term protection: Without long-term protection in the form of government incentives, subsidies, or trade policies, firms may face increased risks and uncertainties in the solar manufacturing industry. The absence of stable and supportive frameworks can discourage potential investors from entering the market.
  6. Technological advancements: The rapid pace of technological advancements in the solar industry can make it challenging for new entrants to compete with established manufacturers. Firms may hesitate to venture into solar manufacturing without the assurance of having cutting-edge technology and the ability to stay ahead of the competition.
  7. Global competition: The global solar manufacturing industry is highly competitive, with major players dominating the market. Firms considering entry into the industry may face intense competition from established manufacturers, making it difficult to gain market share and achieve profitability.
  8. Supply chain complexities: Solar manufacturing involves complex supply chains, with multiple components sourced from different regions. Managing and coordinating these supply chains can be challenging, especially for new entrants without prior experience or established networks.
  9. Environmental regulations: Solar manufacturing processes can have environmental impacts, such as the use of chemicals and energy-intensive production methods. Compliance with stringent environmental regulations can add additional costs and complexities for firms, discouraging them from venturing into the industry without long-term protection.
  10. Market saturation: In some regions, the solar market may already

Solar Installers, Manufacturers