In January 2018, the world's leading monocrystalline manufacturer, LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd., (hereinafter referred to as 'LONGi') announced its strategic 3-year plan for its monocrystalline wafer business for the period from 2018 to 2020. In order to accelerate the progress of the PV industry, and to meet the growing demand from downstream users, LONGi plans to expand its monocrystalline silicon wafer capacity to 45GW by 2020.
In its strategic 3-year plan, LONGi showcased its phased approach for the steady expansion of its production capacity of monocrystalline silicon wafers. Based on a silicon wafer capacity of 15GW by the end of 2017, the company will aim to increase this to 28GW by the end of 2018, to 36GW by the end of 2019 and to 45GW by the end of 2020. LONGi will continue to reduce production costs, and ensure the market supply of efficient monocrystalline products.
LONGi stated that the technical quality and cost objectives of its newly producing projects should support the ongoing requirements of China's national PV grid parity and the company will concentrate on cost-effective monocrystalline products in order to consolidate its leading position in this segment. LONGi aims to ensure that the standard silicon/non-silicon cost of new wafer projects does not exceed RMB1 ($0.16) per piece, whilst guaranteeing the wafer quality will continue to support a conversion efficiency for mainstream PERC cells of higher than 22.5% with degradation within 1% for mass production.
Today, LONGi manufactures its solar products mostly in China, but also operates capacity in Malaysia. In the past two months, LONGi has begun production in two new locations: Yunnan Chuxiong (10GW monocrystalline wafer) and Yunnan Lijiang (5GW monocrystalline ingot). There is a third factory in Yunnan Baoshan due to come online around October 2018, again for production of 5GW of monocrystalline ingot.
LONGi's strategy on mass production of monocrystalline wafers will mean prices will almost certainly fall. The mass supply of lower price monocrystalline wafers, allied to the advantages of PERC and bifacial technology will inevitably accelerate the advent of grid parity.