A foundation ceremony for a new manufacturing facility was held this Wednesday in Jinzhong, in Chinas Shanxi province. The new project contains two stages. The first stage will include 500 MW of annual capacity for n-type mono heterojunction cells and modules. Stage two will provide a further 1.5 GW cell and module capacity.
While Jinneng Group owns many kinds of electricity generation, this is not its first investment in solar. In 2014, the company built its first solar manufacturing facility in Wenshui County, also Shanxi province, with an initial capacity of 500 MW cell and 600 MW of modules, and later extended to 1 GW cell and 1.2 GW module. After the project of Jinzhong is finished, the total capacity of high efficiency solar products for Jinneng Group will be around 3.2 GW.
Jinneng Group is one of the largest state-owned enterprises controlled by Shanxi province. The company previously focused on coal transportation and power generation, it is turning to more renewable energy in accordance with government requirements.
Jinneng says the n-type mono heterojunction cells jointly developed with SunEdison have achieved stable efficiencies as 22% for mass-produced cells, and the company has a roadmap to get to 25%. The cooperation with SunEdison will not only focus on increasing efficiencies, but also on reducing the manufacturing cost of n-type mono heterojunction products, which they expect to cut 20%.
SunEdison will also gain benefits from the cooperation with Jinneng in marketing and sales of its products in China, at least in Shanxi province on governmental projects, due to the wide relationships of Jinneng with governments of different levels.
The news said nothing about the total investment of the project and the capital proportion of the two parties. So far SunEdison has declined to comment on its participation in this project, and Jinneng has not provided any information besides what was in a press release.
An internal analysis by pv magazine estimates that the total investment could be as high as CNY2 billion (US$ 300 million) based on investment costs for similar projects in China. Jinneng Group is likely to hold a controlling stake in the joint venture as this is typical for Chinese state-owned enterprise and SunEdison is likely to be the technology supplier, however these details could not be confirmed.
?The groundbreaking on this project is good news for SunEdison. The company also experienced a court victory yesterday when a judge refused Appaloosa Managements request to block asset transfers from Vivint Solar, which it is in the process of acquiring, to yieldco TerraForm Power.