Chinese solar production juggernaut rumbles on


Coronavirus or no, Chinese solar manufacturers have shown little sign this week of letting up in their plans to rapidly expand production operations.

With Tongwei and Longi having recently unveiled ambitious plans, solar cell maker Jiangsu Zhongyu Photovoltaic is preparing to invest RMB10.2 billion ($1.46 billion) in 10 GW more annual cell production capacity along with 5 GW of wafer cutting facilities and 5 GW of module production lines.

The new facilities will be based in Suqian city in Jiangsu province, with local authorities breaking news of the plans on Monday. British news provider the BBC reported yesterday Jiangsu had logged between 501 and 1,000 cases of coronavirus.

Figures produced by solar analyst PV InfoLink indicate Jiangsu Zhongyu was the third largest cell manufacturer in the world last year, by shipment volume, behind only Tongwei and Aiko Solar. Having backtracked on its stated aim of focusing solely on cell production, Jiangsu Zhongyu numbers Jinko Solar and Canadian Solar among its core customers.

Hooray for Jolywood

A day later, fellow Jiangsu-based manufacturer Jolywood revealed it will spend RMB3.5 billion on 2 GW of high-efficiency TOPCon n-type cell and supporting bifacial module capacity, augmenting its current 3 GW of annual TOPCon output.

Not to be outdone, cell maker Aiko Solar yesterday gave details of a three-pronged approach to expanding its production facilities. One of its subsidiaries will add 4.3 GW of cell capacity as the third phase of the RMB1.9 billion Yiwu project in the city of the same name in Zhejiang province. That roll-out is set to be finished within 12 months.

Zhejiang is one of the Chinese provinces worst afflicted by the coronavirus outbreak with the BBC yesterday reporting more than 1,000 known cases in the region.

Aiko will also add a further 1.6 GW of annual cell output with a RMB320 million investment at its Tianjin base within four months and the company will splash RMB700 million on a photovoltaic R&D center at its Yiwu plant within eight months. Tianjin has reported between 101 and 500 coronavirus cases as of yesterday, according to the BBC.

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