‘Go big for bigger market’: Tongwei accelerates European module distribution and shipments

By Carrie Xiao
Tongwei owns four national-level green supply chain management companies. Image: PV Tech.

Driven by the EU’s 2050 carbon neutrality target, EU countries are actively promoting energy transformation. According to PV Infolink, around 66.5GW of PV capacity was installed in the European market in 2023. In 2024, this number is expected to increase to 95GW, with high growth expectations in the coming years.

Tongwei, which has fully developed its module business since 2022, has also set its sights on the European market for the first time. Relying on its advantages of vertical integration and the team’s hard work and expansion, this PV company has targeted top distributors in key European countries and established stable cooperation with them.

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As Tongwei continues to enhance its distribution channels in the European market, the company has also managed to achieve impressive shipments and establish a robust business framework, showcasing its operational efficiency.

This year, Tongwei has introduced the new TNC-G12/G12R module series for the European market. This series, which upholds the high-quality tradition of Tongwei genes, offers full power coverage from 455W to 720W, thanks to Tongwei’s self-developed and self-produced TNC high-efficiency cells and industry-leading manufacturing technology. Li Yan, vice general manager of PV business at Tongwei, recently talked to PV Tech about the products.

The rapid growth of the European PV market and challenges

PV Tech: In the last two years, the European solar PV market has become the focus of the global industry, including new installations, policy incentives or trade relations. What are your views on the European PV market? What are the characteristics and challenges?

Li Yan: The most notable feature of the European market is its swift growth. Data from PV Infolink for the first quarter of 2024 indicates that the installed PV capacity in Europe was approximately 66.5GW in 2023, and this number is anticipated to rise to 95GW this year, with the expectation of rapid and sustained growth in the coming years.

The second characteristic is the substantial policy incentives. The EU’s Green Deal and European Climate Law have further defined the objectives for renewables development. A range of incentives have been implemented, including tax benefits, feed-in tariffs (FiT) and net metering systems, all aimed at propelling solar PV development through policy initiatives.

When discussing challenges, it is imperative to address policy volatility. Despite the significant policy incentives currently in place across various European nations, some countries’ policies lack stability, which in turn leads to market fluctuation. Swift policy changes will also directly impact investor confidence, casting a negative influence on long-term PV project planning and investment.

Furthermore, the grid infrastructure in some parts of Europe is outdated and is unable to accommodate the demands of a large number of distributed solar PV systems. The rapid growth in solar PV installations presents new challenges to the grid’s stability and dispatching capacity. The grid needs to be more adaptable and flexible to cope with solar PV power generation.

Finally, the impacts of geopolitical conflicts should not be underestimated. In particular, the Red Sea crisis since November 2023 has led to ocean freight capacity constraints and a multi-fold increase in transportation costs for solar PV exports. Cargo security and delivery lead times have also been affected, and inventories in transit have increased with longer voyages.

How has Tongwei expanded its work in Europe? Based on its strategic layouts, in which European countries does Tongwei perform particularly well?

In 2022, Tongwei started to deploy its module business. In Europe, we have locked in the top distributors in key countries and established stable cooperation. While gradually improving the construction of distribution channels in the European market, we also achieved good shipments, and simultaneously built a solid business framework. Memodo is one of our noteworthy distribution customers. All these achievements were made thanks to the advantages of Tongwei’s integrated industrial chain and the accumulated reputation and brand influence.

On the other hand, we have actively established contacts and cooperation with major European independent power producers (IPP) and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies and have made substantial breakthroughs, winning several projects of over 100MW in a row.

What product portfolio is Tongwei highlighting for the European market this year? Why do you want to focus on these products?

This year, we have strategically introduced the TNC-G12/G12R new module series into the European market. Equipped with our self-developed TNC high-efficiency cells and cutting-edge manufacturing technology, these products uphold Tongwei’s tradition of excellence, achieving power coverage ranging from 455W to 720W.

Addressing the current demand of the European PV market, which is predominantly focused on distributed projects, we have launched the TNC-G12R module series. They offer superior economic benefits with optimal dimensions, reduced balance of system (BOS) costs and minimised levelised cost of electricity (LCOE). The innovative low-voltage design can increase the number of single-string module connections and the output per string, reduce the number of strings required, and cut down on expenses for mainstream cables, support systems and installation labour, thus maximising the investment value of distributed projects.

At the same time, for utility-scale power plants that occupy a certain market share, we have also launched the TNC-G12 module series, which can be adapted to centralised, distributed commercial and industrial (C&I) project scenarios, with a single string power increase of 30% compared with the conventional version of TNC-M10 72 module series. A power plant of the same capacity can reduce the number of strings by 30%, thereby reducing the number of supports, pile foundations and cables to lower construction costs for higher customer returns.

Li Yan talks about the challenges and opportunities of the solar PV market in Europe. Image: PV Tech.

Increasing advanced capacity

In terms of products, what changes have occurred in the company’s module capacity this year, such as scale and proportion of advanced capacity? For Tongwei, what are the key tasks and objectives in the international market this year?

Our existing module capacity stands at 75GW, marking a notable increase compared to the previous year. In particular, in terms of advanced capacity, we have expanded the production of large-size modules, such as the TNC-G12/G12R series, to deliver higher output and offer efficient products to the global market.

Our most important goal this year is to comprehensively strengthen the prestige of the Tongwei brand in the global market. We will make our presence at international exhibitions and industry summits to continuously enhance the brand’s global influence.

This year, we will also officially operate our German branch to actively establish a local sales network in the European market to better meet the globalisation challenges and enhance our international competitiveness by a localised approach. We will dig deeper into the core market, solidify and strengthen the distributed channels overseas, and vigorously accelerate the development of project markets.

What sets Tongwei apart from competitors in the international market? What do customers say about Tongwei?

Tongwei’s greatest advantage in the international market is its vertical integration strategy. As the only company in the industry with a fully integrated industry chain from polysilicon, wafers to cells and modules, our integrated strategy has been increasingly recognised by the international market amid fierce competition for its stability, scale and brand advantages.

At this stage, we have firmly grasped the initiative in the supply of core PV raw materials, and successfully established a complete PV industry chain with independent intellectual property rights. As a responsible PV company, we have achieved remarkable results in building green, low-carbon and responsible supply chains.

Currently, Tongwei owns four national-level green supply chain management companies and has secured 33 carbon footprint certifications. We have also established a dedicated working group for supply chain traceability, showcasing our unwavering commitment to product supply assurance, environmental protection, and sustainable development through tangible actions.

Decades of development have won Tongwei a good reputation in the market. Tongwei has always relied on excellent products and services to win widespread acclaim from international customers, supporting every customer’s development with the most cutting-edge technologies and products. Relying on its profound industry experience and technology know-how, Tongwei continues to innovate amid fierce market competition to develop products that are more competitive and more in line with market demands.

Tongwei’s product delivery strength is also a key factor for users around the world to choose Tongwei modules. Since the first batch of TNC-G12 products rolled off the production line, it only took four days for Tongwei to complete the shipment, and we have been responding to customer needs with efficiency. In the future, with the continuous module capacity expansion, we will continue to ensure the consistency of the production process and strictly meet the local requirements of module product delivery.

Tongwei’s product delivery strength is a key factor for global buyers choose Tongwei modules. Image: Tongwei

Implementing four major ESG strategies to promote green transformation

In recent years, environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure has received increasing attention in Europe and other markets. What are some of Tongwei’s notable achievements and strengths in ESG?

Prior to ESG becoming a focal point for global markets, Tongwei was already at the forefront of integrating ESG principles into every facet of its operation and achieved tremendous progress. In 2023, Tongwei refined its sustainable development strategy with the mission of ‘Together to Win,’ advocating the core concepts of ‘build together’, ‘govern together’ and ‘share together’. Tongwei has implemented four ESG strategies of harmonious partnership, steady development, beautiful ecology and value creation at multiple levels of corporate governance.

In terms of ESG actions, in Q1 2024, Tongwei joined several international initiatives and alliances based on its development strategy and unique culture. For example, Tongwei officially joined the RE100 global initiative as a gold member, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality at the operational level by 2030 and the goal of 100% renewables.

Moreover, we have formally signed the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles Treaty to actively work for the empowerment of women.

In environmental protection, we have published the management commitment and policy, and the biodiversity protection commitment and policy, pledging strict adherence to local environmental protection regulatory requirements on resource utilisation and emissions management. We have actively employed effective and innovative technologies and measures to combat climate change to ensure that the environmental impact of our business activities is minimised.

The excellent performance and strength demonstrated by Tongwei in ESG not only won appreciation from investors and consumers, but also demonstrated the company’s strong commitment to sustainable development and determination to make continuous progress. Through continuous innovation and social responsibility practices, Tongwei has actively promoted green transformation, led industrial development, and made positive contributions to society and the environment, demonstrating its leadership in green and sustainable development and contribution to sustainable development globally.

8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
26 November 2024
Málaga, Spain
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.
11 March 2025
Frankfurt, Germany
The conference will gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing out to 2030 and beyond.
17 June 2025
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PV Tech has been running PV ModuleTech Conferences since 2017. PV ModuleTech USA, on 17-18 June 2025, will be our fourth PV ModulelTech conference dedicated to the U.S. utility scale solar sector. The event will gather the key stakeholders from solar developers, solar asset owners and investors, PV manufacturing, policy-making and and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out the PV module supply channels to the U.S. out to 2026 and beyond.

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