France’s Systovi is ramping up the annual capacity of its module factory in Carquefou, France. pv magazine France spoke to the company’s general director, Paul Toulouse, about European manufacturing and competition from Asia.
From pv magazine France
Systovi has inaugurated a new assembly line in Carquefou, near Nantes, France. It invested €1.5 million ($1.59 million) to double its production capacity from 40 MW to 80 MW.
“In addition to this increase in capacity, our objective is to produce panels with higher output,” Systovi Managing Director Paul Toulouse told pv magazine France.
The new line will make it possible to manufacture the latest Optymo series of Systovi panels, which are based on M10 cells, with outputs of up to 400 W. The new modules, which are mainly intended for the rooftop market, measure 114 mm x 176 mm and weigh 22 kg.
“Contrary to the market trend, which is moving towards thinner and thinner aluminum frames, especially for transport cost reasons, we have chosen to maintain an aluminum frame of 4 cm thickness,” said Toulouse. “This gives the panel better resistance to handling and better resistance over time.”
The company has further automated its production processes, particularly in the soldering stage. “We have also strengthened quality control because the electroluminescence inspection now takes place before lamination, which makes it possible to identify any welding inaccuracies and micro-cracks in the cells upstream,” said Toulouse.
Thanks to the continuous improvement in the sourcing of its suppliers, Systovi claims its new module has an estimated carbon footprint of approximately 23.8 CO2 eq/kWh.
“This balance sheet should drop slightly again next summer because we will be welcoming a new laminator to our site,” he added. This oven, which melts the different layers at 154 C to obtain a laminate, will have improved energy efficiency.
The company hopes, through these investments, to participate in efforts to shift the PV supply chain to France.
“However, today we are faced with multiple competition,” said Toulouse. “Chinese manufacturers are heavily subsidized and sell at low prices that are totally disconnected from their production costs. By contrast, the United States has announced significant financial support for local production with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Finally, India has launched a production incentive program (PLI) to encourage the domestic manufacture of solar panels, up to 100 GW/year.”
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