Samsung began R&D on photovoltaics back in 1987 and a full scale R&D line up was established in September 2009. Certifications were obtained in 2010 including UL, CEC and IEC and in April last year the company supplied its first power plant in Korea. In May 2010 the company announced $5.5 billion worth of planned investment in solar PV by 2020. Much of its solar PV business is concentrated on crystalline panels although there is the potential for the company to go into thin-film production as well. Recently the company announced that it is to set up a 10,000 ton plant to produce polysilicon in a joint venture with US company MEMC. This will be onstream by 2013. The company aims to capture 8% of the market by 2015. This should be interesting given that at present its distribution channels are not that impressive, although its products are available in the UK and Australia.
In terms of price a 4kW LPC247 system will cost you around £12,000 for 16 panels and a 6.9 kW around £16,000. These systems are 15.24% efficient which is about average. At least one website I looked at does not consider Samsung to be offering anything different than many other PV companies although if the company is serious in its business aims it should start to improve its performance in the years ahead. The company has got itself a reputation for producing all sorts of solar powered gadgets particularly laptops and solar phones.
The company’s website claims strict quality control, world-class manufacturing, prompt delivery and top reliability. It supplies both white and black modules and its range of 241 watt panels includes 60 models operating at 15.6% efficiency. All panels have a high power output and low degradation rate which may be down to the company’s proprietary cell technology. The company offer a 25 year performance warranty at 80% efficiency.
All in all, I would say Samsung is about average with regards to solar PV.