Beijing based Hanergy is China`s largest, privately owned, producer of renewable energy. The group operates in the hydropower, wind power and the solar power fields, whilst it`s focus has now shifted towards the latter, the company has become the largest thin film solar panel producer in the world and has a presence in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. The company was featured in the MIT Technology Review’s “50 Smartest Companies of 2014” ranking, due to its almost 1000 patents, mostly related to photovoltaic innovation.
Currently Hanergy’s installed capacity for hydropower exceeds 6 GW, whilst the same figure for wind power stands at 131 MW according to the company’s reports. The company also has the world’s largest, privately built, power station, Jin’anqiao. Its Wind power plants are in Jiangsu and Ningxia provinces.
However, today, the core business and focus of the company is the development and production of photovoltaic panels. Hanergy has made striking progress in becoming a global leader in the field, considering it only started the development of its photovoltaic arm 5 years ago. Local media in Guangdong, province where Hanergy launched its solar panel operations, coined new term – “Hanergy speed”. The company claims its annual capacity for producing PV panels is now over 3 GW, which would translate to 4 billions kWh of electricity annually. The group has signed construction agreements for solar power plants with a 4 GW total capacity in Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Jiangsu, Hainan, Shandong, Hebei and other provinces, as well as in several European countries.
Hanergy focuses on thin film photovoltaic solar panels. Production line start-up costs are relatively high whilst efficiency is lower than traditional silicon panels, but the lower production costs and consistently improving transformation rate should increase thin film panels commercial attractiveness. Over supply in the solar industry forced numerous companies out of business, some of which were rescued by Hanergy Solar Group (HNS), in which Hanergy Group acquired a controlling stake in February this year.
Hanergy Group and Hanergy Solar Group have been aggressively expanding in both the domestic and international markets. It recently signed a partnership with IKEA, where it will furbish its retail stores with solar panels in the UK and China. Furthermore, by acquiring MiaSole and Global Solar Energy in the US and Solibro in Germany it has significantly strengthened its R&D capacity The latter has been working on improving conversion efficiency of Copper Indium Gallium and Selenium (CIGS) panels since the acquisition, with highest efficiency rate of patented panels being 15.5% conversion, while the latest lab tests are reaching 19.6% conversion: meaning about a fifth of sun’s radiation is being converted into electricity. Moreover, Hanergy has signed an agreement with Aston Martin Racing, and will explore possibilities of solar technology application in motorsports.
However, despite all positive news, Hanergy’s future plans seem to be both risky and reliant on Governmental patronage. The group’s investments into wind and solar farms are only 30% - 40% funded by the Hanergy itself, the rest of the capital usually coming from local governments. If Hanergy fulfills its expansion plans, it will have a solar panel production capacity of around 6.6 GW, while globally added capacity was just less than 40 GW last year, with a quarter of it coming from China. It believes that its markets success is dependent on it`s development and delivery to customers of its latest CIGS panels and considering Hanergy does not currently figure among the top sellers globally, all will indeed depend upon the volume of its CIGS panels shipped to end users.
Hanergy launches full-solar-power vehicles with daily range of 80km (2016 Update)
Hanergy Board chairman & CEO Li Hejun launched 4 new fully solar powered vehicles. The new series of vehicles includes the Solar O, Solar L and Solar A and sports car 'Hanergy Solar R” each targeted at different groups of users.
With a solar energy conversion rate of 31.6%, Hanergy's gallium arsenide (GaAs) dual-junction solar cell was awarded with a World Record Certificate by the World Record Association at the launch event. Previously, on 5 January, the technology had been recognized by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for its record efficiency.
The four new full-solar-power vehicles are integrated with flexible, highly efficient GaAs solar cells, maximizing the area covered (3.5-7.5m2). Through a series of precise control and managing systems (including a photoelectric conversion system, an energy storage system and an intelligent control system), the zero-emission vehicles use solar energy as the main driving force. With 5-6 hours of sunlight, the thin-film solar cells can generate 8-10kW-hr of power per day, allowing the vehicle to travel about 80km (equivalent to over 20,000km annually), and hence satisfying the requirements for city driving under normal circumstances.
Users can manage different travelling and weather modes in a real-time, mobile, networked and smart way, selecting charging modes in accordance with varied weather conditions through Apps on their mobiles. In everyday-use mode, the vehicles can charge themselves with solar energy while traveling, making 'zero charging' possible for medium- and short-distance journeys. So, unlike traditional electric vehicles, the full-solar-power vehicles hence no longer need to rely on charging posts, eliminating the concept of 'distance per charge'. For weak sunlight or long-distance travel, the lithium batteries in the vehicle can get power from charging posts, enabling them to travel a maximum of 350km per charge.
Hanergy claims that the four new vehicles are the first full thin-film solar power vehicles that can be commercialized, breaking the bottleneck of poor practicality of previous solar-powered vehicles. The firm has also signed a framework agreement with Foton Motor to cooperate on developing clean energy buses.