South Korean solar PV module maker, Hanwha Q Cells has closed its wafer production in Jiangsu province, China. A company spokesman confirmed to pv magazine what was reported by the Korean Times, which said that the wafer factory in China was shut down in the fourth quarter of 2017.
“However, Hanwha Q Cells is currently building a vertically integrated photovoltaic factory in Turkey, which will be equipped to produce 1.3 GW,” the spokesman said, adding, “In this factory we will then again produce state-of-the-art wafers. So, wafers basically remain part of the photovoltaic value chain that controls our company.”
Wafer production is not a core business for the South Korean company. The closed plant in China had a production capacity of 1 GW per year. “In relation to the 8 GW of our total capacity, we’ve always bought the vast majority of wafers for our products,” said the spokesman. This proportion will now further rise, he added.
The plant closure in China has no influence on its Thalheim site in Germany, or its European business, the company stressed. “In Thalheim, we operate our worldwide center for technology, innovation and quality, and from here we also manage the entire European sales network,” said the spokesman. Accordingly, European business is currently growing, with the company currently looking for employees in both Germany and Europe.
In the Korean Times article, the closure of the Chinese wafer factory was mainly attributed to high maintenance costs, and to the fact that the Korean group intends to produce more monocrystalline solar cells in the future, while its Chinese factory was devoted to the manufacture of multicrystalline products.