Longi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd has announced plans to build a 228 MW solar PV project in China. The Chinese vertically integrated solar PV manufacturer has also signed a 39,600 metric ton (MT) high purity polysilicon agreement with Daqo New Energy Corp.
Longi has said it will build a 228 MW solar PV project in Majiatan town, Lingwu city, Ningxia Province, China, for an investment of around US$216.7 million.
A spokesperson for the company told pv magazine the plant is expected to be constructed over a period of four months. No further details were available.
Meanwhile, under the announced polysilicon agreement, China-based Daqo, the world’s fifth largest polysilicon manufacturer, will supply Longi with 39,600 MT of polysilicon between this April and 2020 for use in the production of high-end monocrystalline solar products. The financial details were not disclosed.
Commenting, Baoshen Zhong, chairman of Longi, said, “This supply agreement with Daqo New Energy will allow us to expand production capacity of our high-efficiency mono-crystalline solar products to meet the growing demand from our downstream customers.”
In January, Longi announced it would invest CNY 1.95 billion (US$299.5 million) in the construction of a 5 GW solar module assembly plant in eastern China.
The planned facility in Chuzhou, Anhui province, will produce monocrystalline PV modules. Construction of the new factory is expected to take nearly two and a half years to complete, said the company at the time.
Also in January, the Chinese solar PV manufacturer said it would install a 2 GW manufacturing facility in India, for 1 GW of monocrystalline cells and modules, respectively. The facility is expected to be commissioned by Q1 2019 at the latest.
At the start of February, meanwhile, it announced a three-year roadmap, aiming for 28 GW monocrystalline wafer capacity by end of this year, 36 GW by the end of 2019, and 45 GW by 2020.
Independent solar analyst, Corrine Lin believes Longi’s plans to triple its production capacity to 45 GW could trigger an oversupply problem in the second half of this year.
Last March, Longi also agreed to collaborate with Sichuan Yonxiang, a unit of Tongwei, to jointly build a new polysilicon production plant in China’s Sichuan province with an annual capacity of 50,000 MT. Construction on the first phase of the project was slated to start at the end of last June 30, with operations expected to begin this year.
High purity demand
The news of the deal appears to answer a question posed by Johannes Bernreuter, head of Bernreuter Research in our recent polysilicon and wafer manufacturing ranking, where he said, “Mono wafer producers are mainly importing high-purity polysilicon from Germany and South Korea.
“Regarding the rapid expansions of Longi and Zhonghuan Semiconductor [both of which exclusively produce monocrystalline products], it remains an open question how they will cover their demand for high-purity polysilicon.”
According to figures provided by Bernreuter Research, Chinese polysilicon capacity at the end of 2016 was 227,500 MT, growing to 319,000 MT by the end of 2017. With several new factories set to come online, this capacity could hit 450,000 MT by the end of 2018.
“In terms of quantity, Chinese manufacturers are making huge progress,” says Bernreuter. “This supports what I have been saying for a while, that the ultimate goal for China is independence from polysilicon imports.”
Overall, monocrystalline silicon enjoys a sizable market share – around 40% by the end of 2017 according to estimates from IHS Markit.
Despite this, Chinese wafer producers will continue to import large amounts of polysilicon. Figures from Bernreuter Research show that China imported 159,000 MT of polysilicon in 2017. Around 45% of these imports came from South Korean producers, with Germany’s Wacker was responsible for a further 30% share, with 11% coming from Taiwan.
Source PV Magazine