GCL hits 2.5 GW of module shipments

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Since its parent company acquired the ailing Chaori Solar in 2014, GCL has rapidly expanded into solar module manufacturing. GCL System Integration Technology has announced that it shipped between 2.5 to 2.7 GW of solar modules in 2015, a fivefold increase in its 2014 module production.

The expansion in module output now places GCL as the seventh largest module producer globally in 2015, according to a ranking produced by Chinese website Solarbe.

GCL now has module production capacity of 3.7 GW, and it claims that its Zhangjiagang module facility is the most highly automated of mainland China manufacturers.

The company’s ambitions do not stop there, with GCL having announced plans to reach 6 GW in 2016.

GCL System Integration Technology lists its major customers as being China Minsheng Investment, Power China, Kong Sun Holdings Limited and ZTE Corporation and the Indian Adani Group. It aims to be present in 17 solar markets globally this year.

"[GCL will] aggressively expand market share outside of China," said supervisory board chairman Shu Hua in a statement on Friday. Plans to execute new production facilities are in progress including a new factory in India, which GCL reports is already in full production.

GCL has benefited from Chinese solar initiatives, including its Top Runner Program. Its acquisition of Choari Sun may have been viewed favourably by Chinese authorities, with Chaori taking out the unwanted title of being the first Chinese company to be unable to pay back its bond to domestic bondholders in March 2014.

The Solarbe ranking, based on 2015 shipments, has Trina Solar in first place with 5.5 to 5.6 GW of shipments, followed by Canadian Solar, Jinko Solar and JA Solar. Hanwha Q-Cells and First Solar. Behind GCL is then former market leaders Yingli and Suntech, with Renesola rounding out the top ten.

An intriguing consequence of GCL System Integration Technology expansion into module manufacturing is that it will likely exacerbate the current multicrystalline wafer shortage. GCL Poly currently producers around one-quarter of the solar industry’s crystalline silicon wafers.

The February print edition of pv magazine includes a feature article on the current poly and mono wafer markets and a detailed analysis of China’s Top Runner program and its consequences.