Astronergy widens German panel manufacturing

The German unit of Chinese panel maker Astronergy is widening its German production through venturing into the production of premium and standard mono crystalline PV modules.

The manufacturer, a unit of Chinese industrial group Chint, this week said it is using new generation PERC cells for the production of high-performance modules in the 295 to 310 Watt peak power classes that were recently certified by TÜV Rheinland.

Astronergy with the new module is expanding the production capacity at its manufacturing plant in Frankfurt (Oder) near Berlin to 340MWp from 300MWp so far.

It is one of the rare examples of an increase in production capacity in Germany after years of a general decline in the country’s manufacturing of solar panels and comes amid a re-ignited dispute on anti-dumping measures imposed by the European Commission (EC).

Solar installers and developers led by lobbying group SolarPower Europe (SPE) fight for an end to the EU’s anti-dumping measures and minimum prices (MIP) for Chinese producers, most of the few remaining manufacturers in Europe led by SolarWorld and lobbying group EU Pro Sun want the EC to extend those measures.

EU Pro Sun argues that Europe's remaining PV manufacturing sector needs the measures to continue to make sure a new wave of Chinese dumping will not destroy the fledgling recovery of manufacturers in the EU.

The EC has until early March to decide whether or not the measures and MIP will remain in place, but is expected to take a decision before year-end.

Serial production of the new modules will start in mid-October and subsequently be available from distributors.

The company will offer its new ASM6610M standard mono modules with silver in the standard power class between 275 to 290Wp and in the premium power class of 295 to 300Wp. The completely black mono module “Violin ASM6610M (BL)” will be available in the power class of 275 to 285Wp.

“In addition to the standard mono modules with silver frames, we also offer completely black mono modules. We tested the black cells of several established tier 1 cell manufacturers, but only two were able to meet our high expectations concerning the colour depth and uniformity of the cells,” says Thomas Volz, chief executive at Astronergy Solarmodule.

Astrongergy in 2013 had completed the purchase of the Frankfurt (Oder) plant from former German PV major Conergy. Conergy went bankrupt earlier that year and sold its brand name and a number of its sales and service businesses to US investor Kawa Capital Management.