The two companies launched production on July 27 with an investment of CNY 222 million ($32.9 million), according to an online statement. GCL-SI has supplied production and testing equipment for the PV cell production lines.
In a separate announcement this week, GCL-SI revealed that it has agreed to supply 60 MW of PV modules to Germany’s IBC Solar, as part of a new strategic partnership. The Chinese manufacturer will produce the polycrystalline PV modules in Vietnam for installation in the European market. GCL-SI plans to complete its first shipments to IBC Solar in September.
GCL-SI did not reveal the precise location of its new production facilities in Vietnam. However, according to a plan the Chinese supplier announced in January, it has installed new lines at existing Vina Solar plants throughout the country. The Vietnamese solar OEM — which was established in early 2014 — currently owns at least one factory in Bac Giang province and claims annual PV module output of 3.4 GW, in addition to solar cell output of 1 GW per year.
GCL-SI — which is a part of the Golden Concord group of companies, along with GCL-Poly, the world’s largest polysilicon and wafer producer — believes that its new manufacturing operations in Vietnam will help it secure orders in the U.S. and Europe. It plans to continue to expand throughout the world, in line with the Chinese government’s Belt and Road economic development strategy.
The company said it has been working for years to improve the efficiency of its polysilicon PERC cells. By the start of this year, it had achieved an average efficiency of 20.3% with its Black Silicon PERC cells. It aims to reach 20.5% by the end of this year, in line with the Chinese government’s revised Top Runner standards.
Shenzhen-listed GCL-SI is the latest in a number of Chinese PV suppliers that have launched production in Southeast Asia in recent months, as part of efforts to dodge duties and tariffs in the U.S. and European markets. Last November, for example, JA Solar started building a $1 billion PV cell plant in Vietnam’s Bac Giang province.