China-based integrated and merchant PV manufacturer Tongwei Group said it would report full-year 2017 profits to be in the range of 80 – 100% higher than in 2016, due in part to its capacity expansions of both polysilicon and solar cells and higher average selling prices (ASP’s) in the year. 

Tongwei said in a financial filing that it expanded polysilicon production by 5,000MT in 2017, bringing nameplate capacity to 20,000MT. The company benefited from a rise in polysilicon ASP’s as well as lower production costs. 

In general, polysilicon ASP’s topped US$20/kg in 2017, double production costs.

The company also benefited from its expansion of solar cell capacity in 2017. Tongwei had shipped around 1GW of solar cells in 2016, having reached a nameplate capacity of around 2.4GW at the end of the year. 

In 2017, Tongwei noted that solar cell shipments (mono and multi) combined increased to around 3.85GW, a 75% increase of the previous year. Combined solar cell capacity stood at 5.4GW at the end of 2017. 

Tongwei also opened its latest 2GW monocrystalline solar cell plant as well as a fully automated (Manufacturing 4.0) production line. The company has long-term plans to expand cell production to 30GW, becoming a major merchant solar cell supplier to ‘Silicon Module Super League’ (SMSL) members such as JinkoSolar and Canadian Solar, which have pursued an ‘asset-lite’ strategy in relation to wafer and cell in-house capacity.  

The advanced cell manufacturing facilities and higher shipments and utilisation rates in 2017, led Tongwei to claim that its non-silicon costs fell to RMB 0.2-0.3/W (US$0.03/W – US$0.05/W by the end of 2017. 

Tongwei is already investing around RMB 12 billion (US$1.8 billion) in total, constructing new cell manufacturing facilities at the Hefei High-tech Industrial Development Zone in Hefei City to provide nameplate capacity of 10GW, while a further 10GW of capacity will be housed in the Southwest Airport Economic Development Zone of Shuangliu District, Chengdu City.

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