U.S. equipment maker Desptach Industries has reported an order for several of its firing furnaces, to enable a capacity expansion at LERRI Solar Technology, a subsidiary of Xi'an LONGi Silicon Materials Corporation.
Despatch reports that it will be supplying four sets of its Safire firing furnaces, which together offer the capacity to process 500 MW of cells annually. The company plans to deliver the furnaces from the beginning of March 2016 through the end of April.
These furnaces offer dual independent chambers and Despatch claims no lane-to-lane influence, as well as its PowerLock technologies which the company says supresses light induced degradation (LID) on passivated emitter rear contact (PERC) cells to below 1%.
LERRI Solar needed a dual lane firing furnace capable of processing highly-efficient PERC cells, said Despatch Solar Sales Manager Lene Li in a press statement. The Safire, with independent control of each lane and Microzone profile flexibility proved to be the best solution for them.
This order will help to enable a massive 2 GW annual cell capacity expansion at LONGi, which the company expects to take place by the end of 2017.
LONGi is already the world's largest producer of multicrystalline silicon wafers, with a 4.5 GW annual capacity. The company currently has three factories in China and one in India, and additionally seeks to dramatically expand LERRI's module capacity by 2 GW annually, to reach 4 GW of cell capacity and 8 GW of module capacity by the end of 2018.
LONGi currently pv magazine China Editor Vincent Shaw reports that the company is very confident of the prospects for its monocrystalline modules in the Chinese market, and LONGi's capacity expansion is part of a wave of capital investments underway globally in the PV industry.
Correction: This article was corrected at 8 PM Eastern Time (U.S.) on December 29. The earlier version incorrectly stated that the capacity of the firing furnaces was 500 MW each, and it has been corrected to state that the total capacity is 500 MW.
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