Making markets near, far glow with clean power

PV products supplier LONGi Green Energy Technology expands worldwide

LONGi Green Energy Technology Co, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic or PV products by market share, will continue to expand the production capacity of its overseas plants and add branches in economies participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Opportunities come from many countries’ demand for clean energy products that can help in coping with climate change, achieving emission cut targets and saving on energy costs for their residents, said Li Zhenguo, LONGi’s president.

The Xi’an-headquartered group operates a manufacturing base with over 4,000 employees in Malaysia. Now, as it moves to the next development stage, LONGi has plans to build branches in other countries, including India, Australia and Brazil, to further compete with other established rivals. It provides solar-related products from raw materials to monocrystalline silicon PV products to clients across both China and the rest of the world.

Li said China’s clean energy revolution has generated a decisive influence on the economies participating in the BRI, and the development of PV technology has made clean energy no longer a luxury power source but an affordable commodity.

The PV industrial chain includes five major components, to wit: silicon materials, silicon wafers, cells, modules, and surface power stations. In the past decade, Li said the cost of PV modules has dropped from about 40 yuan ($5.68) per watt to less than 2 yuan per watt with a drop of more than 90 percent.

The cost reduction refers to the cost reduction of all links in the whole industry chain. It can directly reduce the per-watt investment cost of the power station.

Unlike some developed countries which already have mature power generation infrastructure, facilities in many countries or regions are at the early stages of development, which means more opportunities for Chinese solar power manufacturers, Li said.

Thanks to the growing demand of global markets and trade globalization, LONGi built a plant in Kuching city, Malaysia, the company’s first overseas manufacturing facility for monocrystalline silicon wafers, in 2016.

The company expanded its operations in Malaysia by building a 1-gigawatt monocrystalline cells plant, at a cost of 840 million yuan in February this year. The move helped the company to cope with rising operational costs and minimize the effect of the ongoing China-US trade dispute.

The group currently ships 60 percent of its solar products overseas, including to the US, India, Japan, Germany and other countries in Europe and Southeast Asia.

Established in 2000 by Li and his partners, LONGi initially focused on technical innovation in the semiconductor sector. It seized the opportunity in raw material supply of silicon wafers and forayed into monocrystalline silicon wafers in the next few years.

Supported by more than 21,000 employees and years of technology evolution, LONGi today has developed a number of business segments from PV power generation equipment to solar power station systems, as well as a monocrystalline industrial chain.

Its sales revenue in 2018 was 21.99 billion yuan. Sales revenue jumped 54.68 percent year-on-year to 22.69 billion yuan in the first three quarters of this year.

Confident about the future prospects of the PV sector, Li went to Paris to attend the 2019 Fortune Global Forum in mid-November. There, he shared his views that PV power plus energy storage will be the mainstream energy supply solutions in the future.

As a representative of China’s private companies, Li said China’s ongoing industrial upgrading boom will push innovative companies to seek bigger space in the market.

With the global green transformation on, and led by China’s acknowledgement that natural environment is an invaluable asset, new energy, especially PV power, has drawn surging attention at both home and abroad.

Along with the evolution of technology, the cost of energy has been dropping accordingly and PV power generation will shake off the impression of being expensive, said Li.

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