A premier Chinese solar product manufacturer JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. (JASO) has decided to step up the production rate of its highly efficient PERCIUM solar cell. JA Solar’s PERCIUM solar cell is the first among the P-TYPE solar cells to have reached an average conversion efficiency of 20.4%.
PERCIUM Solar Cell
PERCIUM solar cell is a proof of JA Solar’s consistent R&D efforts. This high efficiency cell was launched by JA Solar in February this year in Japanese, British, Israeli, Chinese and German markets to positive response. The average power rating of a 60 cell PERCIUM module is 285 W, which improves upon its peer modules by 15–20W.
JA Solar at present operates one PERCIUM solar cell production line, which will move to four this October and is expected to touch eight in 2015. The total production capacity of PERCIUM solar cells is expected to reach 170 megawatt (MW) by 2014 end and 350MW next year. The increase in capacity is primarily due to the favorable response that the PERCIUM cells have received in the major solar markets.
Solar energy is costlier than other conventional fossil fuel energy sources. In order to mitigate higher costs, solar modules need to exhibit high conversion efficiency as well as perform in harsh weather conditions. But what is most important, these solar modules lower the emission of greenhouse gases.
Another Solar Module from JA Solar
Apart from the PERCIUM solar cell, JA Solar has also developed the RECIUM solar modules based on silicon technology. The average power rating of a 60 cell RECIUM module is 270 MW, which is 10–15MW better than the peer modules. The company is also expected to step up production of this variant in the second half of 2014.
Conversion Scorecard of Peers
In Feb 2014, the U.S. based solar cell producer First Solar Inc. (FSLR) announced that it has achieved 20.4% conversion efficiency for its cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV.V) solar cell.
Another producer Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) is also investing consistently in R&D to develop more efficient solar cells.
A recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that solar energy will have the fastest expansion rate among the renewable energy generation sources in the U.S., increasing to more than 48 gigawatt (:GW) by 2040 from 8 GW in 2012.
We believe the emergence of more efficient solar cells will bring down the overall cost of large scale solar plants. Solar will increasingly play a major role in the global energy generation mix.
In the first quarter of 2014, JA Solar shipped 638.1 MW of solar modules, comfortably exceeding the high end of the company's forecast of 610 MW. Shipments climbed 44.1% from 442.7 MW shipped in the year-ago period. 32% of total shipment in the first quarter went to Japan, while the Asia-Pacific countries accounted for 21%.
The increasing usage of solar energy globally and the evolution in solar cell technology will certainly increase shipment volumes at JA Solar.
JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Investors interested in the solar cell industry may also consider Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. (YGE), which holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).