Longi outlines huge expansion plans for production in China, Malaysia

The LONGi Building. Source: LONGi Green Energy Technology Co Ltd

February 26 (Renewables Now) - China’s Longi Green Energy Technology Co Ltd (SHA:601012) last week unveiled plans to build a 1-GW factory for monocrystalline solar cells in Malaysia and pledged to spend around CNY 5.18 billion (USD 773m/EUR 681m) on increasing production capabilities at three locations at home.

The solar products maker said in a bourse filing on Friday that a new manufacturing site will be opened in Kuching City, Malaysia, with its construction requiring an investment of around CNY 840 million. The move will be undertaken in response to rising demand in overseas markets and Longi’s intentions to boost its production capacity outside China.

The new factory is planned to be switched on later this year, adding to the company’s current photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturing capacity of 5.5 GW, according to data published on its website. Also in Kuching, the Chinese manufacturer already owns a 500-MW monocrystalline solar cell factory, a module assembly facility with the same capacity and a mono ingot facility of 300 MW. Back in 2016, it took possession of then-bankrupt SunEdison's silicon wafer manufacturing plant at Kuching.

Separately, Longi said it plans to spend a total of CNY 5.18 billion on boosting its monocrystalline ingot and wafer capacity at three sites in China. With an investment of around CNY 1.75 billion, it will add an additional 6 GW at its monocrystalline ingot production facilities in Baoshan, while 6 GW will be added in Lijiang at a cost of CNY 1.94 billion. For its monocrystalline wafer production base in Chuxiong, the Chinese firm aims to spend around CNY 1.49 billion on expanding it by a further 10 GW. This will be the first of the domestic expansion projects to come online, scheduled for March 2020, while the ones in Lijiang and Baoshan are expected to be completed by May and July in the same year, respectively.

Last year, Longi announced plans to lift its monocrystalline silicon wafer production capacity to 45 GW by 2020 from 15 GW at end-2017. It then explained the strategy is based on lowering production costs, which in turn will lead to lower prices.

(CNY 1.0 = USD 0.149/EUR 0.131)

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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