Canadian Solar, GCL ink long-term polysilicon, wafer supply deals

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Canadian Solar (CSI) and GCL Silicon Technology have signed new long-term supply agreements, in which GCL will provide 510 metric tons of high-purity polysilicon feedstock over the next two years and approximately 1.8 GW of solar wafers from 2010-2015.

The wafer part of the deal marks the second major supply agreement inked by CSI in the past few months. The company also signed a contract with LDK Solar to provide 800 MW of wafers to CSI over the next 10 years, as part of an extension of the two firms’ original deal.

In its most recent quarterly report, CSI said it should have 620 MW of module capacity and 400 MW of internal solar-cell manufacturing online by the end of this year. The vertically integrated PV company also said that it expects to have 180 MW of in-house ingot and wafer production capacity in place by early 2009.   

GCL, which was founded in March 2006, has gone from shipping its first polysilicon (manufactured using a modified Siemens process) in October 2007, to achieving 100 metric tons of monthly output in March 2008. The Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China-based company, which already counts JA Solar, Solarfun and Trina Solar among its customers, has aggressive capacity ramp plans for both its poly and wafer operations. GCL has said it expects to reach 13,500 metric tons of annual poly capacity by March 2010 and 1.9 GW of mono- and multicrystalline wafer-making production in place by the end of 2010. The company will begin construction of its wafer facilities later this year. 

“GCL Silicon is among the fastest-growing polysilicon companies and an emerging leader in polysilicon manufacturing,” said Shawn Qu, CSI’s chairman/CEO. “We have witnessed their ability to ramp up their operations first-hand, and we are very pleased to have GCL Silicon as a strategic supply partner. These two contracts help us to further secure our supply chain with strong suppliers at favorable long-term contract prices.

“The competitive pricing for these recently signed contracts demonstrates that our high growth and balanced supply strategy coupled with our strong supplier relationships are paying off with lower materials costs going forward. We expect this trend to continue with an improved supply environment in 2009 and beyond.”

— Tom Cheyney

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