PV conductive paste maker Giga Solar Materials has temporarily reduced shipments of PV silver paste due to short supply of silver powder from Japan-based Dowa Hightech. The company expects shipments to regain a normal level in March 2016, according to company chairman Jimmy Chen.
Dowa Hightech stopped production of silver powder due to an accident at its factory in early January 2016, and partially resumed production two weeks later, Chen noted. However, Dowa’s resumed production is only one-third to half of its normal output and thus has rationed output among clients based on their previous orders.
Giga Solar has over 90% of its demand for silver powder supplied by Dowa, Chen said. As Giga Solar is Dowa’s major client, Dowa has given priority to Giga Solar and Giga Solar expects Dowa to increase supply to over 80% of mid-February-levels, Chen indicated.
Following Dowa’s shortage, Giga Solar has tried silver powder produced by US-based makers, Chen said, with results showing solar cell energy conversion are reduced by less than 0.05pp in comparison with Dowa-produced solver powder. Some solar cell makers have shifted orders from other PV silver paste makers to Giga Solar because other paste makers have suffered decreased output due to the shortages, Chen indicated.
Giga Solar will start construction of a factory at an industrial park in Yencheng City, eastern China, in mid-February 2016, with completion scheduled for August and production to begin in the following month, Chen noted. The new factory is specifically for supplying China-based solar cell makers, Chen said.