Category: News

Endeas highlights I-V curve measurement issues with high-efficiency PV modules

PV module equipment measurement specialist Endeas Oy has developed a new method to measure the steady-state I-V curves in PV modules using high-efficiency solar cells such as PERC, and especially HJT or IBC as solar simulators currently in production applications have limited accuracy, according to the company.

Endeas noted that when measuring I-V curves and maximum power of high-efficiency PV modules, inaccuracies can be discovered, due to the charging of the cells, which leads to a significant underestimation of the maximum power by typical flash testers. 

The company noted that increasing the flash pulse length to overcome the issue becomes expensive and comes with additional problems, such as heating of the module during measurement.

Endeas said it had developed a new method to counter the issues. Its Capacitance Compensation (CAC) technique is said to measure the steady-state I-V curve and maximum power of any PV cell or module based on a single flash pulse of only 40 ms. The method is included in its QuickSun 600 system, an all-in-one module testing station.

The Capacitance Compensation method will be presented at the EU PVSEC conference in Brussels on 24 September 2018 by Dr. Henri Vahlman, a scientist at Endeas.

“PV manufacturers are understandably requesting longer and longer flash pulses. They are aware that the maximum power of their high-efficiency products may be underestimated by their current solar simulators, leading them to sell their products at a lower price than necessary”, said Jaakko Hyvärinen, managing director of Endeas. “The new CAC method is perfectly suited for power measurements in PV manufacturing, as measurement results comparable to steady-state solar simulators can be provided for any PV technology with compact and proven flash testers that are straightforward to integrate into a manufacturing line.”

Endeas said that the CAC method was based on measuring the capacitance (ability to store electric charge) of the tested device during the flash pulse. The measured capacitance was taken into account in processing the measurement data, resulting in more accurate steady-state I-V curves and maximum power measurements, according to the company.

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JinkoSolar claims immunity from industry woes as 2018 shipment guidance remains unchanged

Leading ‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member JinkoSolar has reported higher than guided second quarter PV module shipments and reiterated total shipments guidance to be in the range of 11.5GW to 12GW in 2018. 

The SMSL reported total PV module shipments of 2,794MW, up from 2,015MW in the previous quarter and the second highest quarterly record, which was set (2,884MW) in the prior year quarter. The company had previously guided shipments for the second quarter of 2018 to be in the range of 2.4GW to 2.5GW.

Kangping Chen, JinkoSolar’s Chief Executive Officer commented, “We delivered a strong quarter with module shipments hitting 2,794 MW while generating total revenue of US$915.9 million. Leveraging our cutting-edge technologies, strong global sales network, and industry leading cost structure, I’m confident in our ability to generate sustainable profits and growth going forward.”

“Growth during the quarter was strong and we expect this momentum to continue into the second half of the year despite the impact from the new policies issued by the Chinese government on May 31 as shipments to overseas markets are expected to continue growing and account for an increasing proportion of our shipments. We believe these new policies will have a relatively limited impact on our operations over the short-term and are optimistic about our future prospects. We expect demand from Top Runner Program, poverty alleviation projects, local government subsidies, and self-contained DG projects to continue to drive the growth in the Chinese market, especially in regions with ample sunlight and high commercial power prices.”

“We already have good visibility of our order book for the entire year which is predominantly made up of overseas orders to markets which are growing rapidly and will generate significant opportunities ahead. We are taking full advantage of our market leading position and production facility in Florida to expand our presence in the US market. Demand in emerging markets continues to grow, especially in Latin American and the Middle East and North Africa. We are devoting our resources there towards securing large long-term orders through our mature sales network which spans a number of markets there. We believe the Indian solar sector will maintain its long-term growth trajectory despite the short-term impact of recently announced tariffs and will continue to explore opportunities there.”

JinkoSolar reported a lower gross margin of 12.0%, compared with 14.4% in the first quarter of 2018. This was due to Average Selling Price (ASP) declines.

Total revenue in the quarter was US$915.9 million, an increase of 32.7% from the first quarter of 2018.

Gross profit in the second quarter of 2018 was US$110.0 million, compared with US$104.6 million in the first quarter of 2018. Income from operations was US$14.3 million, compared with US$19.9 million in the first quarter of 2018.

Manufacturing update

JinkoSolar said that its nameplate capacities remain unchanged quarter-on-quarter. As of June 30, 2018, the SMSL’s in-house annual silicon wafer capacity remained at 9GW, while solar cell capacity remained at 5GW and solar module production capacity also remained at 9GW.

The company had previously guided wafer capacity would reach 9.7GW in 2018, along with 6GW of cell capacity and 10.5GW of module assembly capacity.

“We continued to develop high-efficiency technologies while optimizing the cost structure of our products,” added Chen. “We made significant progress in improving wafer efficiency and reducing both oxygen content and light induced degradation. We are increasing our mono PREC cell capacity which will reach 4.2GW by the end of year. We are also investing in N type technology, especially HOT double sided cell technology. The falling cost of raw materials and our deep experience in rapidly rolling out new technologies will allow us to further optimize our cost structure going forward and help us increase market share by providing clients with high-efficiency products at cost effective prices.”

Guidance

JinkoSolar expects total solar module shipments in the third quarter of 2018 to be in the range of 2.8GW to 3.0GW, which could be a new company and industry quarterly shipment record.

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N-type solar cell production to exceed 5GW in 2018 with 135% growth since 2013

As the solar industry has grown from a 50GW market to 100GW in just a few years, the desire to have differentiated production has increased, especially for companies entering the market or repositioning strategies.

Having a product offering that is either higher efficiency or lower cost is always a good way to extract funds to build new manufacturing capacity, and the solar industry has seen plenty of efforts in this regard.

Sadly, most attempts to do this in the past have failed, characterized by the equipment-supply-chain driven turn-key a:Si phase and the days when new entrants were arriving in the industry like there was no tomorrow, and many venture capitalists were left to count the losses.

During the past 2-3 years, the focus has returned to n-type cell variants, and this has been accompanied by no shortage of marketing fervour and aspirational claims. However, when we unpick the facts from the fiction, and track the reality of production, we can see definite upward trends that will surely sustain excitement and investment levels going forward.

For the first time, this article reveals exactly how much n-type production is coming from this segment of the PV industry, further categorizing this into the three sub-categories of n-type technology: back-contact, heterojunction, and all-others.

The underlying data comes from analysis compiled by our in-house research team at PV-Tech, and is available within our PV Manufacturing & Technology Quarterly report releases.

What this all means for n-type module availability – and related panel performance, quality, reliability and company/technology due-diligence for utility-scale solar – forms part of our pending PV ModuleTech 2018 conference in Penang, Malaysia, on 23-24 October 2018.

Why n-type?

For users of solar panels, talking about minority carrier lifetimes or surface recombination velocities – or indeed anything that sounds more like physics than return-on-investment – is largely misplaced.

Of course it is important to understand the physics, especially if you are pushing the boundaries in terms of advanced cell processing, but when it comes down to developers and EPCs, the arguments for n-type can be summed up better as follows.

n-type solar cell substrates are intrinsically higher performing. Cell efficiencies are well above the industry-standard of recent years (p-type multi), and as a result, panel powers (like for like panel sizes, at STC) offer gains of many tens of Watts. This clearly offers space-related benefits which translate positively to any LCOE calculation based on reduced system capex/BoS-costs.

Additionally, n-type offers vastly superior elevated temperature performance, compared to all p-type options (both mono and multi). Here n-type shares temperature-dependent power coefficients with thin-film panels, such as First Solar’s. Considering especially that utility-scale solar plants (and indeed almost any solar panels under direct sunlight) generally perform at temperatures well above STC conditions, there is an argument for every comparison of solar panels to be done at 70 degrees.

n-type substrates are also less prone to various degradation mechanisms, which – given manufacturing quality, testing and repeatability – translates directly into reliability and lifetime performance (return-on-investment).

The above issues are not new by any means. However, it is interesting to see many of the new n-type entrants in the past few years trying to explain these clearly, while at the same time seeking to ramp new production lines and understand simply how to get production lines to targeted efficiencies, yields and distribution goals.

Until now, the only issues holding back n-type being the mainstream choice in the solar industry have been production levels (trending in the 5% of annual demand ballpark) and manufacturing costs (including wafer availability). As such, this explains why everyone in the solar industry needs to keep a close eye on n-type companies, investments and expansion plans, and is fundamentally behind the long-term view held by many that n-type market-share gains will only increase year-by-year for quite some time.

Why can’t n-type benefit from economy-of-scale seen by p-type?

Currently, the PV industry is basking in the glory of having moved p-type multi solar cells from 3 to 5 busbars, in adding a passivation layer to the rear side of p-type mono cells (the PERC cell), and in driving down production costs to allow selling a module at 35c/W with small (positive) gross margins.

However, the p-type community – though a combination of the above and other less-publicized issues – has collectively taken p-type cell efficiencies from 15-18% to 18-21% over a five-year period, representing a phase in the industry that is one of the most productive and helpful to developers and EPCs.

At this point, one should point out that previous estimates (mainly from the research community or early adopters) of where p-type performance could max-out in mass production have largely been exceeded. Indeed, at our PV CellTech 2018 meeting back in March, leading multi-GW p-type cell manufacturers were each showing roadmaps to take p-type mono average cell efficiencies to 22-23% within the next couple of years.

I recall at PV CellTech asking none other than Prof. Martin Green of UNSW what had surprised him most about the current cell performance levels seen in a 100-GW-scale PV industry, and one of the replies was based around the fact that nobody had imagined the performance gains that could be attributed from mass-production learning.

Therefore, the obvious question to ask is: what is possible from n-type production, if it was to scale to 10GW or 100GW? Currently, performance levels of n-type (especially IBC and HJT) are industry-leading, but how much more is out there compared to the GW-max seen at any one producer today? Of course, should IBC/HJT (or hybrid variants thereof) move to this level of production, then by default the industry will have addressed the supply and cost challenges that exist today.

So, one should perhaps not look too closely at the decreasing delta between p-type mono PERC (at the 30GW+ production level, and with a cost structure heavily blended with p-type multi output) and n-type cells, as the comparison is not on a level playing field. The question should be: how do these cell concepts compare when each has tens of GW production across 5-10 key producers?

In the meantime, let’s return now to n-type growth within the industry today.

From 2GW to 5GW annual production in five years

Until a few years ago, the PV industry had just a few companies making n-type solar panels, with efforts spread across three ‘different’ approaches: back-contacted solar cells (or interdigitated back contact, IBC), front-contacted with doped/intrinsic thin a-Si (passivation) layers (heterojunction), and n-type designs that are more analogous to regular p-type solar cell processing but have rear passivation/diffusion.

SunPower is well-known for being the proponent of IBC cells, benchmarking premium performance levels across all n-type (and everything else) on the market. IBC processed cells remain market-leading today by some margin.

Panasonic inherited Sanyo’s heterojunction facilities in Japan and Malaysia, and for some time was the only company offering this technology. As I will discuss below in the article, other companies have now entered this segment of n-type solar manufacturing. 

Heterojunction (or HJT) performance has slightly lower performance levels, compared to IBC, but offers higher powers than other n-type variants. The strengths of HJT can also be blended back-contacting of course, but as yet this is R&D only, and not close to mass production.

The ‘other n-type’ grouping has seen some pilot-line activity in the past, but saw its first real efforts to move into mass production about 10 years ago, when Yingli Green Energy ramped up several production lines through a technology-transfer with European research institute ECN (the ‘Panda’ offering from Yingli). During the past few years however, this technology class has seen the greatest level of competition, in particular arising from the success of LG Electronics in South Korea, and subsequently spreading across several new companies located in China.

The net result of the new capital investments has seen the number of (meaningful) n-type cell producers grow to approximately 20, with many others engaged at the R&D level also, or working with research institutes on collaborative projects. Consequently, global cell production of n-type has grown from the 2GW-level in 2013 to what is projected to be more than 5GW this year. This is shown in the figure below:

LG Electronics became leading n-type producer by MW in 2017

Almost under the radar, and without any great fanfare, LG Electronics likely moved into the leading position in the PV industry sometime during 2017, producing more n-type capacity than any other company. Much of this has arisen from the company’s aggressive capacity expansions in South Korea during the past couple of years, stimulated by the US market in a pre-Section-201 world.

When looking more closely at LG Electronics’s specific process flow for its n-type cells, one can see some other trends that are characterizing the n-type segment as a whole, many of which have not found compatibility with mainstream p-type cell production.

Currently, with the exception of a few Chinese new-entrants, all n-type producers have some form of differentiation, ranging from the likes of SunPower (whose lines are entirely in-house IP-owned) to LG Electronics (multi-wires and ion implanting) to others that may have bifaciality as standard or (like SunPower) have worked out how to use wafers below 120 microns thick. This segment is also the first to use thin wafers and have copper (not silver) for electrical collection.

n-type benefits from European/Western equipment suppliers

A large part of the growth success of n-type production in the past few years can be tracked directly to the involvement of equipment suppliers, with many of the leading European companies having process knowledge exceeding the customer base they are serving: Meyer Burger, INDEOtec, SCHMID, Von Ardenne, Singulus, Tempress/Amtech. Japanese know-how – courtesy of legacy engagement with Sanyo in Japan – has somewhat permeated out of companies such as ULVAC and Sumitomo Heavy Industries and exists in various forms through affiliated or licenced partnering companies in Asia today. Companies previously selling PCV/PECVD tools for a:Si deposition (ULVAC, Applied Materials, Jusung) are obviously placed to have an impact also.

Walking around many of the new n-type lines in operation today across Asia and Europe will likely feature equipment from many of the above companies. The n-type segment (in particular for HJT and all-others including n-PERT/bifacial variants) is yet to consolidate around a standardized process flow however, and is still one that Chinese tool suppliers believe they can address should multi-GW be added from 2019 onwards during the next phase of n-type expansions.

Removing wafer availability concerns

Previously, n-type production was seen to have certain limitations, in particular from being reliant on mono ingot pulling which until recent years had been relatively niche. Indeed, had it not been for LONGi and Zhonghuan, it could be argued that this same limitation would apply, with 5-inch wafers for n-type cell production being in short-supply and priced 15-20% above regular wafer offerings from the likes of GCL-Poly.

However, all this changed with the expansions from LONGi and Zhonghuan making mono pulling a 10-20GW company-operations, and taking production costs to levels that previous wafer suppliers in Asia could never have reached (for any mono wafers, not just for n-type cell production).

Almost overnight, mono wafer supply has become commoditized, and one could almost argue today that wafer-supply to n-type is a net-positive, not a stumbling block. Currently, wafer supply for n-type producers is mainly available on-demand, with a decision on number of pullers using boron or phosphorous dopants. The supply of wafers for n-type cell production is not likely to go into over-supply in the near future, but given the hunger for leading Chinese mono wafer suppliers to dominate the market, one can conclude also that should a few additional GW of n-type be produced even in 2019, the supply-chain will meet this demand from China.

Heterojunction still the front-runner for most new entrants

While the graphic above may not suggest it, HJT is where the focus is today for much of the new investments into n-type across China, Taiwan and Europe/Russia. Many of these companies are ramping new lines now, and success here will show more clearly in production data going forward, and less so when looking at the 2013-2018 window.

The drivers are varied. For many of the Chinese companies, having a panel with ‘Panasonic-type’ quality/performance is clearly something many would love to have today, and there remains a belief that if they can match cell efficiencies in mass production, then they can address the Achilles-heel for Panasonic and Sanyo in the past: production cost.

For others, the move to HJT may be as simple as needing to repurpose legacy a-Si investments (e.g. Hevel Solar, 3Sun/Enel) and seeing HJT as the natural c-Si based path.

With the strong R&D being undertaken by tool suppliers such as Meyer Burger and INDEOtec, the prospects for HJT moving to multi-GW scale with a competitive cost structure are good.

PV ModuleTech and PV CellTech remain the go-to check-points for n-type

For the past few years at PV CellTech, we have focused on the plans for new cell production for n-type capacity, as especially HJT variants. This has proved invaluable in providing a glimpse at what may come through in mass production 2-3 years out, at which point most of the downstream community have real choices to make based on new module suppliers and technologies.

While this captures much of the reasoning behind the PV CellTech event, PV ModuleTech looks at how this impacts on module supply today, in terms of company strengths, product quality, and bankability. As such, this year’s PV ModuleTech 2018 event in Penang (23-24 October 2018) will be a great place for global developers and EPCs to understand exactly what the supply of n-type modules will look like in 2018.

For many, it will be simply keeping track of a module technology that could impact on their solar strategies from 2020 onwards. For others, it offers immediate benefits, assuming selection of module supplier and technologies meet necessary due-diligence and bankability requirements.

For more details on how to attend PV ModuleTech 2018, please follow this link.

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Meyer Burger supplying ‘SmartWire’ tools for heterojunction module assembly plant in Southeast Asia

Leading PV manufacturing equipment supplier Meyer Burger has secured an order for its ‘SmartWire Connection Technology’ (SWCT) from an international solar module manufacturer in Southeast Asia for use with heterojunction (HJ) solar cells.

Meyer Burger said that delivery and installation of its SWCT technology was planned towards the end of 2018 and expected the commissioning and ramp-up of the 200MW solar module production line in the first half of 2019.

PV Tech has recently highlighted that Meyer Burger’s SWCT technology had been adopted by new HJ entrants, transitioning from amorphous silicon thin-film module production to HJ, such as 3Sun in Italy and Hevel in Russia and previously Ecosolifer in Hungary as the technology is a low-temperature interconnect solution, which is required for HJ cells because of the use of a-Si TCO layers on the front and backside of the cell.

The technology has also been adopted by integrated c-Si PV module manufacturer REC Group, which has its wafer, cell and module manufacturing operations in Singapore.

Meyer Burger has also recently announced that Panasonic had decided to fast-track the evaluation of its SWCT technology in an effort to boost its cell and module performance. 

Panasonic has a module assembly plant in Malaysia, supplied with HJ solar cells from Panasonic’s dedicated solar cell plant in Japan as well as contract manufacturing for Tesla in the US.

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SNEC 2018: Panasonic evaluating Meyer Burger’s ‘SmartWire’ technology for heterojunction cells

Leading PV manufacturing equipment supplier Meyer Burger has said that the pioneer of heterojunction solar cell technology, Panasonic has decided to fast-track the evaluation of its ‘SmartWire Connection Technology’ (SWCT) in an effort to boost its cell and module performance. 

Meyer Burger’s ‘SmartWire’ technology has already been adopted by new entrants, transitioning from amorphous silicon thin-film module production to heterojunction, as the technology is a low-temperature solution, required for HJ cells using a-Si TCO layers on the front and backside of the cell.

However, the technology is also said to reduce silver consumption per heterojunction solar module by over 50%, which in turn reduces production costs for the relatively expensive HJ modules. 

The dense wire contact matrix of the SWCT technology can support increased power extraction necessary for today’s high efficiency heterojunction solar cells, providing an increased performance yield and improved stability and long-term reliability.

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SNEC 2018: DuPont surprises with transparent backsheet for bifacial modules

Major PV materials provider DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions has launched the first transparent PV module backsheet material, specifically for bifacial solar modules at SNEC International Photovoltaic Power Generation and Smart Energy Exhibition, being held in Shanghai, China this week. 

Currently, bifacial solar cells were seen to require a glass/glass encapsulation to provide light to the rear cell, eliminating traditional backsheet materials used extensively for mono-facial modules. DuPont has been a long-term major supplier of its ‘Tedlar’ materials for backsheet production in the solar industry. 

DuPont noted that the breathable, clear ‘Tedlar’ PVF film based backsheets allow higher reliability, lower operating temperature, compared to glass/glass bifacial modules, as well as being 30% lighter.  

The clear ‘Tedlar’ PVF film is expected to be a drop-in with most current manufacturing processes for backsheets and modules with little if any additional investment in equipment needed for most manufacturing processes, according to DuPont.
 
The company has also been collaborating behind the scenes with one of the world’s largest solar energy installers, Huanghe Hydropower Development Co., Ltd. (HHSD), a leading clean energy subsidiary of State Power Investment Cooperation (SPIC) of China and a relatively small PV manufacturer in its own right. 

DuPont said that A 72-cell, high-power, bifacial module protected by the clear ‘Tedlar’ PVF film-based backsheet would be featured at its booth at SNEC. SPIC is currently evaluating the performance and longevity of the new clear backsheet as part of SPIC’s real-world, large-scale PV power plant testing facility of equipment and components in Qinghai province, China.

DuPont also launched a new front side silver metallization paste, ‘Solamet’ PV21x, which is designed to enhance most mainstream cell technologies. ‘Solamet’ PV21x was said to deliver better contact performance and high aspect ratios that enable cell efficiency enhancement >0.1% and maintains high throughput in mass production. 

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ISC Konstanz signs n-type bifacial and IBC cell technology transfer to Valoe for commercialisation

The International Solar Energy Research Center Konstanz e.V. (ISC Konstanz) has signed a technology transfer agreement with PV module assembly equipment supplier based in Finland for R&D centre’s advanced ‘BiSoN’ (Bifacial Solar cell On N-type) and ZEBRA (diffused n-type IBC) solar cell technology.

Valoe noted that it had acquired a solar cell production line from Megacell S.r.l., which was under liquidation, and a producer of bifacial n-PERT solar cells in Italy based on the ISC Konstanz technology.

Dr. Radovan Kopecek, CTO at ISC Konstanz and Managing Director of Advanced Cell Concepts: “We are very pleased to continue assisting you in developing ZEBRA further. Together with Valoe´s back contact module technology such a module using ZEBRA is very powerful at low costs. Valoe has, as one of the first companies in the world, developed a mass scale module manufacturing technology which makes the implementation of back contact solar cells into the module extremely simple, cost effective and with high yield. Further, Valoe’s technology makes it possible to use thinner solar cells. The PV market is now ready for such modules build on IBC cell technology for many new applications.”

Valoe also noted that it planned to transfer part of the production line to PV manufacturer Soli Tek Cells’ production facility in Lithuania to undertake volume production of IBC solar cells for customers of Valoe, sometime in 2019.

ZEBRA based IBC cells have reach conversion efficiencies of more than 23% and module efficiencies would be supported Valoe’s unique back contact module technology that can also handle ultra-thin N-type mono wafers, lowering production costs. 

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Wuxi Suntech providing half-cut cell modules to European customers

China-based integrated PV module manufacturer Wuxi Suntech Power Co said it had started supplying high-performance multicrystalline half-cut cell modules to European customers, offering power classes of 295/290W. 

The addition of the half-cut multi c-Si cell technology comes on the back of production in 2017 of its in-house developed metal assisted chemical etching (MACE) texturing process (black silicon) for diamond wire sawing, which was claimed to provide an absolute efficiency gain of up to 0.3%, compared with the additive direct texturing process.

Wuxi Suntech said that its half-cut cell technology enabled module power outputs of 5W to 10W higher than standard 156mm x 156mm multi c-Si, 60-cell module formats, reducing system costs with higher module efficiency. 

Module performance was also said to have been improved because of cell current losses by 50% with half-cut cell technology and cell temperature operation dropping by 20~25℃ compared to conventional modules, according to the company. 

The half-cut cell modules also use a distributed junction box design, with power loss reduced, due to a cross layout installation, noted Wuxi Suntech.

Shuangquan He, President of Wuxi Suntech said, “In the past 18 years, Suntech focused on cutting-edge technology innovation and provided high-quality and cost-effective products to our global partners. Now, we have cooperated with VDE for quality inspection certificate, VDE-QT, and continue to monitor the quality in quarterly mass production. At the same time, Suntech offered an industry-leading 12-year product warranty and a 25-year linear performance warranty reinsured by world-leading reinsurance company – Munich Re.

The company also noted that it offered WEEE recycling solutions for European customers. 

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LONGi restarts stalled solar cell and module manufacturing plans in India

Leading integrated high-efficiency monocrystalline module manufacturer and ‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member LONGi Green Energy Technology has officially reignited previously suspended manufacturing plans in Andhra Pradesh, India. 

LONGi said that it would invest US$309 million, including around US$240 million in constructing a new facility with an initial nameplate capacity of 1,000MW of monocrystalline solar cells and expand its mothballed 500MW module assembly plant to 1GW. 

The completed construction and start of production ramp of the new solar cell facility was expected in January 2020, while the expanded module assembly plant is expected to be completed and production ramp occur by the end of August 2019.

LONGi had previously suspended the entire project in 2017, due to delays in gaining funding for the project in India and has decided to split funding between the parent company and its previously established Indian subsidiary, by Lerri Solar Technology (India) Private Ltd, which is 40% owned by LONGi and 60% owned by LONGi Solar. 

“The expansion of our Andhra Pradesh factory is part of LONGi’s global growth strategy. While global demand for solar modules continues to grow, LONGi is making moderate capacity investments in select markets to hedge against the risks of trade protectionism, while remaining focused on the Chinese domestic market,” said Mr. Wenxue Li, the president of LONGi Solar. “According to preliminary estimates, the new expansion will support $380 million in annual sales and roughly $19 million in net profit every year.”

The company recently announced the tripling of ingot and wafer production through 2020 at its multiple manufacturing sites in China and its acquired facility in Malaysia. 

However, missing from the cell and module expansion announcement in India were plans to build wafering operations in India, which critically lacks this segment of the upstream manufacturing supply chain. 

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Trina Solar surpasses 9GW of solar module shipments in 2017

‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) member Trina Solar has said it shipped over 9GW of PV modules globally in 2017, confirming its second place position in PV Tech’s Top-10 Module Suppliers annual rankings. 

The SMSL noted in a statement on its website that module shipments for the first three quarters of 2017 were 1,966MW, 2,481MW and 2,092MW, respectively. As a result fourth quarter shipments would have peaked at over 2,500MW. Trina Solar said that accumulated module shipments had exceeded 32GW.

Key markets for Trina Solar in 2017 were China, India and the US, while its global footprint is one of the broadest in the industry, highlighted by the fact it said it shipped and had distributed products to more than 100 countries. 

Trina Solar also retains its in-house solar power projects business, which constructs, operates and has sold projects in China, the UK, the US and other European and Asian countries.

The SMSL also noted that it had shipped over 3GW of modules to India in recent years, accounting for more than a 25% market share, according to company.

However, the China market has remained its largest market in the last few years. The company noted that in August, 2017 it launched its residential PV brand – ‘TrinaHome’ in China, which it claimed has quickly taking leading market position in the Distributed Generation market. 

The Company also noted that it was implementing the ‘One-Million Rooftop Plan’ over the course of the next five years to provide the Trina residential PV system installation service for more than one million households.
 
Trina Solar’s commercial projects were said to have achieved 500% growth with businesses covering 20 Chinese provinces and cities nationally, with strategic plans over the next three years in developing around 1,000 commercial partners to achieve over 10 million system sales.

PV Tech’s ‘Top-10 Module Suppliers in 2017’ has recently been published and has in recent years become the most widely accepted benchmark of leading global solar module shipment rankings in the industry and also remains the key metric for market share leadership and positioning.

Currently, the SMSL membership is made-up of seven companies identified in the past 12-18 months as the companies that were expected to be in the 4GW-plus annual shipment level in 2017, forming an exclusive grouping. 

SMSLs are also characterised by having several gigawatts of manufacturing capacity and shipments separating them from all other suppliers, including several companies that were included in the 2017 Top 10 rankings. 

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