EnergyTrend recently had the honor to interview the vice president of technology of Hanwha Solarone, Dr. Mohan Narayanan, at SNEC, one of the largest PV exhibitions in the world. In the interview, Dr. Mohan Narayanan explains their efforts and achievements in the Chinese and global market.
He stresses the company’s competitive advantage lies in the ability to vertically integrate the value chain. Being a fully vertically integrated company, Hanwha Solarone can provide raw materials as well as finished products from poly silicon to power plant. In addition to the optimization of the value chain, the chemical engineering expertise, particularly the polymer expertise, enables faster technology development and that is also a major competitive edge Hanwha Group possesses.
However, there were hurdles faced during the process of vertical integration. You need to constantly think about how the market changes. Taking module as an example, it is the area with the lowest capital investment and it is easy to scale it up. So the company increased the capacity of the module. By reacting fast to the changing market condition, the company perceives it as the best way to maximize vertical integration advantage.
When asked about the possibility of entering the thin film sector, Dr. Mohan Narayanan indicated that the company does not have direct investment in the thin film sector but are carefully analyzing what is happening. However, there are some technical staff who are experienced in the thin film area. The company may not have the plans in the near future, but it is open to all possibilities of utilizing the similar concepts between crystalline silicon and thin film on the module for certain products.
Dr. Mohan thinks that 2010 was a good year for the entire solar industry, a lot of companies in tier 2 and tier 3 underwent a consolidation process. He expects to see this process to continue into 2011 and a lot of new capacity will come on line while the market will expand.
Hanwha chemicals owns close to 50% shares of Hanwha Solarone, previously known as Solarfun. Leveraging existing presence in many countries, the company hopes to become a top player in the market and the only one that can provide products and services from poly silicon to power plant.