Which are the trends in both technology and applications that will shape the solar sector in Europe? These and many other questions were answered at the Solar Energy Sector Forum of the Energy Cluster (ACE) that took place on the 11th of November at Tecnalia’s headquarters in Zamudio. Mondragon Assembly’s Solar Business Director, Iñaki Madina, took part in the forum.

The session reviewed the current situation of the photovoltaic sector and, in greater depth, a series of innovative technological approaches that are revolutionizing the current panorama and which offer promising prospects for the future, including advances in new generations of cells and modules with greater efficiency; emerging market niches such as floating photovoltaics or agrivoltaics; and digitalization applied to the optimization of operation and maintenance processes in photovoltaic plants.

Mondragon Assembly, participation in the Forum

At the conference, Iñaki Madina analyzed the current situation of the solar sector worldwide and the vectors on which it will be necessary to focus in order to achieve a competitive business ecosystem for PV sector in Europe.

“This event has served as a key to show the competitive and changing environment in which we are moving and what should be the way forward to ensure that Europe is once again a pioneer in technology and new applications in our sector. Our commitment is clear: new technologies and collaboration with research and development centers in the sector to offer our customers the special solutions and differentiation they need to gain competitive advantage againts the competition” said Iñaki Madina.

Together with Madina, relevant companies and agents of the sector, such as Meyer Burger, Tecnalia, PI Berlin, Branka Solutions, Lortek, Isigenere, Emica Solar and Dominion, participated in this forum.

Attractive patent with great interest in the solar sector

The current patent from 2013 provides us with some results not previously seen in the manufacture of strings.
Seeing the interesting results offered by the patent, Mondragon Assembly faced a legal dispute some years ago with a solar machinery manufacturer, which the Chinese court settled in favour of Mondragon Assembly.
At present, the Basque Country machinery manufacturer has already negotiated some agreement with one of the most prominent companies in the solar industry.

Continuous String and its advantages

The patented “Continuous String” process is a method of manufacturing a continuous string, which means any adverse effects arising from “first” and “last” cell can be eliminated. During this process, a cut is made between two cells to create individual strings from one infinite string.

In so doing, this system increases the machine’s productivity by 10%. Furthermore, this method allows the ribbon/wire to be kept under control at all times, increasing the quality of the alignment and reducing the number of defective strings.

Information request

For more information, Mondragon Assembly will be in at Intersolar 2021 (Munich) from 6 to 8 October. We can also be contacted at any time via the Mondragon Assembly website.

We are pleased to invite you to one of the most important events of the European Solar industry, Intersolar Europe Restart 2021 is just around the corner!

On 6, 7 and 8 October,  you will find us in Hall A5.240 where we will be happy to show you the latest innovations our team of experts have developed.

THE SPECIALIST YOU NEED FOR YOUR PARTICULAR SOLUTION.

With over 20 years of experience, we are the best partner to advise you in finding the best solution for your special application of PV module manufacturing. Making it an exclusive and profitable solution for you.

WE ENSURE YOUR TECHNOLOGICAL EVOLUTION

We live in constant change and the PV industry is no exception. We are aware that the technological evolution in the solar industry is a concern for module manufacturers. That’s why we work alongside the most well-known technological centres to bring you the best solutions available in the PV industry. We are the best partner to guide you in the technological evolution of your solution. This approach helps us to ensure that none of our partners are left behind.

 

HIGH-TECH TURNKEY LINES AND INDIVIDUAL MACHINES

We are a European leader in technological solar equipment. When visiting our stand, you will find information on the most advanced and automated high-tech turnkey lines along with individual machines, all of which have been developed by the Mondragon Assembly Team.

INNOVATION AND IP

Since our foundation in 1977, we have been committed to innovation as a means of achieving growth, dedicating large part of our resources to promoting new product research and development, and extending our comprehensive service offering.

We own several patents, Continous String being the most noteworthy one due to the amazing results it offers to our customers. It is a revolutionary concept that increases the  throughput by more than 10%.

So, what you are waiting for?

Come and visit us at stand A5.240 or if you prefer you can easily arrange an appointment with our experts through our website. Intersolar is the perfect place to get to know our PV experts and get best advice for a tailored solution that meets your needs.

The production line, developed by MONDRAGON ASSEMBLY and with a capacity of 150MW, has successfully started manufacturing the first modules.

This is the first phase of a global project with a total capacity of 1.2GW that BIN OMAIRAH HOLDING has decided to carry out in a very strategic location in the northwest of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Tabuk Industrial City (just 200 km from Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion futuristic megacity, Neom) via its wholly owned subsidiary, Masdar Solar, established in 2018 to localise PV technologies in Saudi Arabia.

The automatic line, which manufactures state-of-the-art modules, will be in full production by the end of this year. “With this project, we expect to become one of the most important manufacturers in the MENA region. To achieve this, we will cover both the local and global market from here” said Fahad Bin Omairah, CEO of BIN OMAIRAH HOLDING.

MONDRAGON ASSEMBLY, more than a Technological Partner

A multidisciplinary team has been set up to ensure the most successful implementation of the project, and the positive results reflect the success of the project. “More than 20 years of experience in the PV sector has made us realise that our customers not only need a solution provider, but also a partner who will accompany them throughout the life of the project, especially at the beginning stage. Moreover, given the exponential evolution of both cell and module technologies, we have the capacity to provide them with technological support and advice so that none of our customers are left behind” added Igor Herrarte, International Sales Manager at MONDRAGON ASSEMBLY.

MONDRAGON ASSEMBLY supports different entities and public institutions in the kingdom to increase the level of PV localisation which is perfectly aligned with the KSA’s ambitious plans regarding the implementation of renewable energy. ‘’We strongly believe that this project is part of the ambitious plan to encourage technology transfers in the renewable energy industries and the location of significant parts of the renewable energy value chain in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to align with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030. Effective collaboration between the different players in the PV sector, coupled with government policies that prioritize renewable products, is expected to enhance the local PV industry and drive development” said Haythem Zhioua, Business development manager for the MENA region at MONDRAGON ASSEMBLY.

About Bin Omairah Holding: Bin Omairah has been offering multi-utility infrastructure solutions for more than 45 years, partnering with leading utilities companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and MENA region. Bin Omairah endeavors to be the benchmark brand in high-quality infrastructure solutions for Power Grids, Water & Sewerage Lines and Telecommunications Networks. This means constantly adapting smart and agile project management tools, new construction processes and practices, and global benchmarking.

In the context of their ongoing efforts to offer maximum value to their clients, Bin Omairah customizes value-adding multi-utility infrastructure solutions with One-Stop-Shop approach to their clients. In line with Saudi Vision 2030, Bin Omairah seeks to expand regionally and globally and to localize a significant portion of renewable energy technologies. Bin Omairah builds solid and lasting relationships with its clients through its culture of client centricity, based on the core values of teamwork, transparency, ethical conduct, integrity and commitment towards our clients.

About Mondragon Assembly S. Coop.: Mondragon Assembly is an international group specialist in the development of automation and assembly solutions. The parent company in Spain, which is a cooperative, was created in 1977, one of the pioneers in the development of production and assembly technologies.

Mondragon Assembly is divided into three business areas: Solar, E-Mobility & Energy Storage and Automation. Its main activities in each of these business include the development of turnkey lines and machines and contract manufacturing, being able to offer solutions anywhere in the world with their six production plants and three technical and sale offices.

Our partner, the European manufacturer inaugurated its module factory in Freiberg a few days after having started production activities at its cell factory in Thalheim.

Swiss-based heterojunction solar module manufacturer Meyer Burger has started manufacturing activities at its 400 MW panel factory in the Saxon town of Freiberg, Germany. “It is a pleasure for us to participate in this Meyer Burger’s PV module production project, contributing with our knowledge and know-how in order to promote solar PV production in Europe” says Iñaki Madina, Solar Business Director at Mondragon Assembly.

The event was a great success and we congratulate our partner Meyer Burger for their achievement and making module and cell manufacturing big in Europe again.

Below is a video of Meyer Burger’s solar module manufacturing line located in Freiberg.

The opening of a new subsidiary in Chicago will enable Mondragon Assembly to provide a closer and personalised service to the customers in the country.

With the aim of reinforcing its global position, Mondragon Assembly is now adding a new milestone to its already extensive business history with the opening of a new subsidiary in Chicago (USA). This new establishment will allow Mondragon Assembly to approach the market while being closer to its international customers, who from now on will be offered a closer and more personalised local service and support.

The United States, the next challenge

“With this new establishment, we want to meet the needs and demands of our clients with professional project management and a fast and competent service that comes directly from the United States”, pointed out Axel Amezquita, manager of the new premises. “This establishment has come along at a crucial time, in which we are seeing a lot of movement in various sectors such as the automotive, solar and energy storage, all of which are fundamental to our Group”, added Amezquita.

Internationalisation, the key to success

Since 1977, the commitment to clients from various markets in which it operates, has led Mondragon Assembly to establish itself in several countries. In addition to this implementation located in the United States, the cooperative is present in France, Germany, Mexico, China and Brazil with production plants that encompass its entire value chain, also with commercial offices and services in MENA and India.

The European Union wants to provide €700 billion through its post-pandemic reconstruction program, but the European Solar Manufacturing Council says that €20 billion of the total should be used to shore up the European PV industry.

Europe was once the heart of the solar industry, but those times are long gone. Asian countries, particularly China, have since pulled ahead with gigawatt-scale production of PV products. The European solar industry has survived, thanks to small manufacturers, but there are also plans afoot for large-scale production on the continent.

The European Solar Manufacturing Council (ESMC) has determined that in 2019, only about 11% of silicon, 1% of ingots and wafers, 0.4% of solar cells, and 4% of solar modules were manufactured in Europe, accounting for 15% of global PV demand. Many solar modules must be imported and demand is currently rising in many European countries.

With this in mind, ESMC is now insisting that €20 billion ($23.9 billion) from the €700 billion EU Recovery and Resilience Facility should be used to support the growth of PV production in Europe. Around 37% of the funds are to be spent on clean-tech and EU member states will share their views on how the money should be used by the end of this month.

“The European photovoltaic industry suffers from a lack of strategic political priorities,” the ESMC said. Eicke Weber, the chairman of the organization, added that a strong PV manufacturing industry will ensure resiliency. “By energetically reversing the situation and giving the PV industry the opportunity to supply the European market, Europe can regain control of its energy transition,” said Weber.

The pandemic has shown that Europe should not remain overly dependent on material imports. It is of strategic importance for countries to have regional and local PV value chains. The ESMC has stated that at least 75% of PV demand in Europe should be covered by domestic production. Two-thirds of PV products produced in Europe should be exported, it said.

This would mean building up 60 GW of manufacturing capacity in Europe by 2026. The current trade deficit of €10.5 billion in solar cells and modules could be converted into around €50 billion of PV production on the continent. This would also create around 178,000 new jobs in Europe.

Based on the current market situation, there is an excellent time window of two to four years to rebuild a competitive photovoltaic production chain, as a global technological change from PERC cells to other technologies such as heterojunction or TOPCon cells is taking place.

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The photovoltaic module assembly line has a yearly capacity of 100MW, soon to be increased to 200MW, and it has the capacity to produce the latest technology modules.

Prof. Noureddine Yassa, Chief Executive of the “Commissariat des Énergies Renouvelables” of the Prime Minister’s Office in Algeria has inaugurated the Milltech photovoltaic module assembly factory, in Constantine, Algeria, on the 8th of March 2021. The production line has been supplied by Mondragon Assembly and commissioned in February 2021.

Prof. Noureddine Yassa was impressed by the high quality and highly automated factory where Mono Perc modules with 22.5% conversion efficiency were instantly manufactured under his eyes by fully trained Algerian engineers. Knowing that Prof. Yassa is originated from the German Solar Industry, Milltech CEO Mr. Hammoud said “we are honoured to receive such comments and we are encouraged to build further momentum”.

A new step for Mondragon Assembly in the MENA region

Since it began developing projects in the MENA region, Mondragon Assembly is consolidating its position as a technological partner for its clients, as it not only offers solar module manufacturing lines but also provides support throughout the entire life of the project, where it ensures the technological evolution and maximum quality of the PV modules it manufactures.

KARPAT SOLAR, the Romanian company, has signed an agreement with MONDRAGON ASSEMBLY to supply a production line for photovoltaic solar modules with a capacity of 100 MWp per year.

KARPAT SOLAR has its facilities in the historical region of Transylvania, in the heart of Romania and has ambitions to become the first module manufacturer in Romania. These 100 MW modules are the first phase of a large-scale project that will initially manufacture for the local market but is targeting the European Union.

Mr Csomor Karoly, CEO of KARPAT SOLAR: “we hope to have our facilities in full production before summer, which will allow us to tackle the Romanian market in autumn 2021, in this first phase. Currently, the use of renewable energy is growing exponentially in our country and we at KARPAT SOLAR intend to make our small contribution in this regard. We will locally manufacture high-efficiency modules under the strictest quality parameters”.

Mr. Igor Herrarte, International sales manager at MONDRAGON ASSEMBLY: “This project shows that the European trend to promote alternative energies is a fact. In 2021 we will see how several module manufacturing projects materialise in Europe. They will be projects of a different nature, both in size and in manufactured product. We also expect technological diversification. In addition to the standard modules, we will see companies launching modules for HJT, BIPV and other niche products suited to European demand, where Mondragon Assembly has the solution all those new technologies”.

New gas generation capacity reaches 1.8 GW could be replaced by 1.7 GW of solar as part of a cleaner, 6.3 GW collection of renewables and energy storage facilities–and that alternative already comes in cheaper than the business-as-usual approach, according to the Carbon Tracker thinktank.

The cost of developing the 6.3 GW-capacity mix of clean energy assets Carbon Tracker estimated would be necessary to replace a 1.8 GW gas generation plant fell to the same price as the fossil fuel asset in 2020: £60/MWh (€69.93), according to a new report from the thinktank.

And solar would play a significant part in such a clean power portfolio at today’s prices, according to Carbon Tracker, with each 1.8 GW of new gas capacity planned by the U.K. government requiring 1.7 GW of solar panels as part of the alternative, non-fossil-fuel power mix. The clean energy portfolio modeled by Carbon Tracker included 1.7 GW of energy storage facilities–contributing half the overall cost, at today’s prices–with onshore wind generation, demand-response technology and energy efficiency investment completing the line-up.

The low, 11% capacity factor of solar the energy output actually delivered as a percentage of nameplate generation capacity–means PV would contribute around 26% of the electricity required to supplant a gas turbine, falling to 1% during periods of peak demand, based on an even mix of residential and industrial power consumers. During peak periods, the 27% year-round-average share of the burden provided by energy storage would rise to 39%, with demand-response’s contribution rising from 20% to 23%, as onshore wind falls from 18% to 10%. The energy efficiency investment opportunity offered by the U.K.’s aging housing stock means the contribution from that source–during the annual peak electricity demand periods, which occur in winter–would rise from 9% to 27%. However, the dismal failure of Westminster to deliver on its flagship green home improvement policy last year would cast significant doubt on the government’s ability to guide energy efficiency investment effectively.

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