Canadian Solar and GCL joint venture in Jiangsu hit by tornado


The bad weather caused heavy damage to the two companies’ buildings, destroying about 3 MW of rooftop PV panels, as well as destroying much of the roof itself. According to a local fire officer, strong winds caused a workshop with more than 40,000 square meters of floor space to collapse.

The local fire department sent 367 people for an overnight rescue operation in the factory, to try and save lives and reduce potential loses. Seven people from the factory were rescued, 300 were evacuated and two employees died in the accident.

The local fire department also said that there was a small leakage of hazardous chemical materials stored in the factory, “but the situation is under control.”

The manufacturing facility is located in the development zone of Funing, Yancheng City. Canadian Solar commissioned the site in May, and had expected to produce 267 MW of solar cells in the third quarter, representing 15-20% of its total cell requirements.

Canadian Solar reports that it has sent additional people to the site to assist in the ongoing rescue operation. The company also states that the factory was insured, and that it expects to recover nearly all of its losses through the multiple forms of insurance which it holds.

Due to damage to a power supply line, local power supply was interrupted as of Thursday afternoon. The local power department said it probably needs one week or more to recover the power supply. This means the recovery of production may need more time than expected.

In order to accommodate for the loss of output, Canadian Solar says that it plans to increase the output of its larger Suzhou cell factory, ramp its Thai cell factory and increase third-party purchases. The company expects to fulfill its module delivery commitments and does not plan to change its module shipment guidance for 2016.

Mr. Gongshan Zhu, chairman of GCL group, donated RMB10 million (US$1.5 million) to the Funing authorities, to be used as funding for rescue and post-disaster reconstruction.

Update: This article was modified at 3:00 PM Eastern Time (U.S.) on June 24 to include information from a statement by Canadian Solar.