Group unit Longi Solar hailed the new record as its “most important technology R&D achievement” yet. The Chinese company said that it expects to surpass a conversion efficiency of 23.0% at some point in the “near future,” without elaborating.
“This greatly enhances the entire industry’s confidence in P-type monocrystalline cells,” claimed Dr. Li Hua, vice president of cell R&D at Longi Solar.
The company will start producing its 22.0% PERC cells by the end of this year. It expects its module power rating to hit 340 W to 345 W for a 60-cell panel format by some point next year, above the minimum standards set out under the Chinese government’s Top Runner program.
LONGi Solar has steadily ramped up the efficiency of its cells over the past year. In April, it achieved a maximum efficiency of 22.17% in mass production on a 100 MW pilot cell line, as certified by China’s National Center of Supervision and Inspection in Solar PV Product Quality (CPVT). By the end of August, it had ratcheted that up to 22.43%.
In early September, the company posted a net profit of CNY 1.236 billion ($191.2 million) for the first six months of 2017, up 43.6% year on year. Revenue hit CNY 6.276 billion in the January-June period. It invested more than 7% of its total revenue into R&D in the first half.
LONGi Solar is now working on a 1 GW monocrystalline silicon ingot production facility, as well as a 5 GW monocrystalline silicon ingot project, in China’s Ningxia region. In addition, it expects to reach full production at its factory in Kuching, Malaysia, by the end of this year. That will raise its output to 300 MW of monocrystalline silicon ingots, 1 GW of monocrystalline silicon wafers, 500 MW of monocrystalline solar cells and 500 MW of monocrystalline PV panels.
Group parent Xi’an LONGI Silicon Materials acquired PV module manufacturer Lerri Solar in February and rebranded it as LONGI Solar. The company is now recognized as a Tier One supplier by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Earlier this month, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) said that the company could beat JinkoSolar this year to become the country’s top PV module supplier, with 2.15 GW of shipments in the first half.