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In conversation with QW Solar: Inside the advanced technologies of HJT

By Carrie Xiao
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“This year’s SNEC has outperformed previous editions in scale, with a significant increase in the number of participating companies,” said Chu Yifan. Image: QW Solar.

This year at SNEC, the Quanwei Solar Technology (QW Solar) booth attracted many visitors and industry professionals to participate in the interactive experiments, making it a bustling area on-site.

To allow visitors to experience the technological charm of HJT, QW Solar has set up interactive experiments at the booth. One of them is the simulation of different natural lighting environments on modules, demonstrating the impact of light intensity changes on module output in weak-light environments and showcasing the excellent weak-light generation capability of the company’s heterojunction technology (HJT) products.

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Another demonstration is the dual-cycle self-cleaning and zero-water-permeation module experiment, which simulates rainwater or other sewage water flow in natural environments to demonstrate the different reactions of sewage flow and water vapour on the surface of HJT modules.

In addition to the company’s blockbuster HJT modules, QW Solar also displayed its state-of-the-art lightweight modules and other product series at the exhibition.

In H1 2024, as a committed HJT practitioner, the company has put into operation two HJT production facilities in Shandong and Anhui province. After the two projects are put into operation, QW Solar will achieve a total of 20GW of HJT modules, 10GW of HJT cells, 5GW of large-size ultra-thin wafers, 1.5 million tons of solar equipment and glass-glass back sheet production lines, and other supporting production lines.

Interactive experiments for demonstrating the advanced technologies of HJT

PV Tech: What product portfolios did QW Solar exhibit at this year’s SNEC? What are the highlights?

Chu Yifan: At SNEC this year, we brought unique interactive experiments to let the audience feel the charm of HJT technology. We added the following interactive experiments on-site.

The first one is an immersive power generation experiment, where we will simulate different natural lighting environments. In the weak-light experiment, we will simulate the impact of light intensity changes on module output to demonstrate the excellent weak-light generation capability of our products. In the glass-glass generation experiment, we will show our users’ generation gains on the back under different light reflection conditions. The excellent weak-light performance and back-generation capability well demonstrate the high output and yield of our products.

The second one is the double-cycle self-cleaning and zero-water-permeation experiment. We will place on site a piece of Killer Whale module and as the reference group a piece of ordinary HJT module. Through simulating rainwater or other sewage water flow in the natural environment, the experiment is to demonstrate the performance of the special double-cycle self-cleaning and zero-water-permeation technology of our self-developed technology and to show the different reactions of sewage water flow and vapour on surfaces of these two types of modules.

Water will accumulate on the surface of ordinary modules, while our proprietary double-cycle self-cleaning and zero-water-permeation technology help quickly repel water flow and maintain surface cleanliness and high efficiency.

The third highlight is the display of our newly developed lightweight modules, which vividly demonstrate to users the light weight of our innovative products. The lightweight module is also a highlight of our exhibits this time. Made up of an aluminium foil backing and ultra-thin tempered glass, the module’s maximum output is 460w and weighs only 12.53kg.

Compared to traditional glass-glass modules, the weight per unit area is reduced by 48.43%, which can effectively reduce the load-bearing pressure on the roof surface. The module is light, thin and beautiful. Its exceptional application, well-balanced firmness and flexibility have gained widespread recognition in the market.

In addition to these engaging interactive experiments, we have once again brought with us the Killer Whale and the Quan Yao high-efficiency HJT series. In particular, the Killer Whale is equipped with our proprietary “Dual-Cycle Self-Cleaning Anti-Corrosion Glass” and “Zero-Water-Permeation Special Processing” technology.

The module is enhanced to better withstand harsh environments, such as salt mist corrosion, biofouling and erosion from bird droppings. It can also better resist moisture permeation. In February this year, we passed the authoritative certification from TÜV SÜD, with the highest output of 742.7W, and in May, our internal tests have scored a highest output of 752.3W.

PV Tech: From your observation, what are the differences between SNEC this year and previous years? How do you see the PV market this year?

Chu Yifan: This year’s SNEC has outperformed previous editions in scale, with a significant increase in the number of participating companies, which reflects the rapid development of the PV industry and the continuous growth of market demands. SNEC this year has also seen many new faces, including some cross-industry enterprises.

The PV market is attracting more capital and resources, and the industry boundaries are continuously broadening. Despite the intensifying industry competition, it is our belief that such competition will also bring about new technology integration and business models, promoting the integrated development of PV with other industries.

As a representative of the fourth generation of PV technology, HJT boasts advantages such as high -efficiency, low degradation, bi-facial generation, low-temperature coefficient and simplified processing. It is developing well and will grow to be a new battlefield for technological innovation and market competition.

As a committed practitioner in this field, QW Solar is confident in the market’s potential. Through dual drivers of technology innovation and economies of scale, the company will accelerate HJT commercialisation, reduce costs and enhance market competitiveness. In this way, QW Solar aims to seize the initiative in the global wave of energy transformation, leading the PV industry towards a more efficient and sustainable future.

Focusing on technical and commercial balance, disregarding ‘factions’

PV Tech: From the perspective of order signing, product shipment and bidding, do you think HJT has achieved outstanding performance as a ‘technology faction’ in the past six months? What achievements has QW Solar made?

Chu Yifan: I think that in the field of PV technology, there is no pure distinction of factions. Whether it is TOPCon, PERC, HJT, or XBC, everyone is pursuing speed and balance between technological and commercial development.

As a high-tech field, if there are no technology commitments, it is difficult for any brand or company to realise the ideal of commercial transformation leadership. Technology plays an increasingly central role in this process. Through the efforts of generations of PV people, these technologies are advancing step-by-step. I believe that technology is not about factions. Every step on the way to technology-driven business takeoffs is important and critical.

From January to April 2024, HJT module tenders in China continued to gain momentum. Statistics show that since the beginning of 2024, there have been about 3.34GW of PV module tenders that clearly designate HJT. The April bidding volume has already exceeded gigawatts.

HJT has been fully recognised by China’s central state-owned enterprises, and demand is expected to pick up rapidly. Moreover, we have noticed that in large-size module tenders, more than half of the projects have explicitly proposed an output of 700W and above, marking the official arrival of the era of 700W+ modules.

QW Solar has currently established a complete research and development (R&D) team and is actively deploying R&D of high-efficiency HJT cells and modules. The company has formulated several routes of cost reduction and efficiency enhancement, including wafer thinning, tandem TCO, 0BB. bi-facial microcrystalline technology, silver-coated copper metal paste, perovskite tandem cells, indium reduction and equipment localisation. These measures are aimed at promoting high-efficiency HJT cell and module production on a large scale.

It is expected that by the end of 2024, HJT product costs across the entire HJT industry will be on par with TOPCon, and HJT tenders are expected to continue to rise.

PV Tech: Since the beginning of this year, PV industry prices and supply and demand conditions have been changing and fluctuating. Module prices are declining rapidly. What are your thoughts on this? How is QW Solar responding to these changes? How do you think module prices will go in the future?

Chu Yifan: We pay close attention to the industry developments. The US has recently adjusted tariffs on the PV industry in China and Southeast Asia. The overall international environment of the industry is undergoing changes. In general, significant environmental changes will trigger strategic adjustments and bring about cost-benefit forecasts for companies.

As a young PV enterprise, QW Solar has always hoped to adapt to environmental changes and maintain vitality and competitiveness through its keen perception, flexible adjustment and solid operation.

Amid the current changing circumstances, QW Solar will study the logic, causes of and feasible solutions to environmental changes. We will fulfil the responsibility that a company is supposed to take, safeguarding customer rights and interests, enhancing our reputation, optimising the investment return ratio for our clients and protecting the fundamental rights of our investors.

We will make every effort to ensure the healthy development of the company’s business operations through sustainable R&D, cost reduction, efficiency improvement and customer reputation enhancement.

The company will unswervingly advance in all its business endeavours. On one hand, we will enhance our production management processes and rationalise our production plans. QW Solar will develop new technologies and products and further optimise our product quality. By improving our information system, we will achieve lean production, enhance our product quality and stability and further increase our product competitiveness in the market.

On the other hand, we will continue to explore the market, increase orders and optimise procurement, management, production, logistics and other related processes to improve the stability of our supply chain. At the same time, we will continuously optimise our cost management system and clarify cost and budget control responsibility of various expenses.

Regardless of where the PV market goes in future, QW Solar will still set reasonable cost budgets and targets in a timely manner, guiding the company and all its departments to build up cost control consciousness that focuses on increasing revenues and reducing expenditures.

qw solar
“In general, significant environmental changes will trigger strategic adjustments and bring about cost-benefit forecasts for companies,” said Chu Yifan. Image: QW Solar.

Releasing the first ESG report, aiming to be one of the first tier of HJT companies

PV Tech: We noticed that QW Solar released its first environmental, social and governance (ESG) report in Q2 this year. For QW Solar, what are the company’s strengths in ESG?

Chu Yifan: QW Solar has published its 2023 Sustainability Report for the first time this year. It is our proactive response to regulatory requirements and to the trend towards high-quality developments in 2023. The company has been improving its understanding and simultaneously disseminating an understanding that aligns with China’s development requirements to the outside world.

As a young, innovative and energetic high-tech company in China, we are focusing on deploying renewable energy worldwide. The principle of sustainable development is not only a real expression of our worldview of the unity of heaven and man in ancient Chinese philosophy but also an obsession that has been embedded in the blood of QW Solar since its birth.

Today, through close collaboration and innovation among all partners, efficient energy use and efficiency improvement have become the source of vitality in every standard operating procedure, every contract, every solution and every control data set.

From R&D and innovation of PV technology to the provision of efficient and reliable clean energy solutions; from caring for the well-being of employees to the sound protection of investors’ rights and interests; from promoting barrier-free social responsibility to building healthy, respectful and lasting partnerships with various communities and different cultural segments; every step reflects our commitments to environment, society and governance, and demonstrates our responsible and proactive actions for sustainable development.

QW Solar has been actively responding to the call of the state to carry out proactive ESG reporting. It is fulfilling its obligation as a listed company to express concepts and share cognitions with investors.

On the environment front, QW Solar has made outstanding efforts in biodiversity protection. The restoration of biodiversity in its production base in Shandong, large-scale vegetation replanting, and the clean power from the 5.5MW Zero-Carbon Smart Factory Distributed grid-connection PV Project have jointly built a solid image of green ecology. The ESG subjects listed by the company are 88.46% consistent with international ESG requirements.

On the social front, QW Solar has significantly enhanced its brand recognition and news dissemination through the creation of the “GIWA” IP image and the use of comics to enhance community interactions.

In terms of humanities, we have demonstrated our care and unremitting efforts for humanity through our understanding of barrier-free and practical actions, including using audio methods for public announcements to facilitate information access for those with reading disabilities or where reading is not convenient and adding barrier-free facilities such as sensor doors, ramps and voice controls to existing factory designs, while ensuring the progress of project implementation.

Through this report, we have documented our efforts over the past year in HJT green energy innovation and specific actions and effects in promoting social harmony and healthy economic development. It also conveys to the outside world our long-term vision and determination as an industry leader to commit to sustainable development.

PV Tech: What is your forecast for the global PV installation additions this year? What are the company’s overall expectations or goals for this year?

Chu Yifan: Over the years, thanks to technology advances, cost reductions and increased global demands on renewable energy, new PV installations have hit new highs. However, the recent PV tariff adjustment constraints of the US on China and four Southeast Asian countries have cast a cloud of doubt on global PV industry development.

No matter how the external environment changes, QW Solar will grasp its own rudder in a timely manner. At present, we have several directions in HJT cell, technology reserves and competitiveness. First, the industry in general is concerned about equipment localisation, thin film, silver-coated copper, target materials, as well as other cost-reduction and efficiency-enhancing processes.

The company has established a complete technical R&D team and sketched out a number of cost-cutting and efficiency-enhancing routes to help promote large-scale production of high-efficiency HJT cells and modules.

QW Solar attaches great importance to the current product progress in continuously and stably improving its quality control capabilities and standards. At present, QW Solar continues to improve the main production parameters through technological research and innovation, reasonably and sustainably reducing product costs and improving its competitive advantages. On the one hand, this can enhance the competitive advantages of products of all categories in the market.

On the other hand, through the technological improvement of quality standards, its product warrantee capabilities have been greatly improved in an orderly manner, providing customers with a better price/performance ratio for their investment and ensuring the operation and maintenance capabilities and cost-benefit balance.

I believe that through efforts in the above several directions, the short-, medium- and long-term interests of the company can be guaranteed, which can not only produce benefits for the present, protect the customers’ interests and the investors’ returns but also help gain advantages in long-term competitiveness. We hope to continuously guarantee the profits of the company throughout the life cycle by active and effective sustainable development.

In future, QW Solar will continue to explore the field of high-efficiency HJT. Focusing on the strategic plan of ’one headquarters, one marketing operation and management centre, one research institute and multi-regional clustered production base,’ the company will steadily grasp global market opportunities and further promote technological innovation and industrial upgrades. We expect that in the next three years, QW Solar will become one of the top-tier enterprises in the HJT PV industry.

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