Korean PV push: Hyundai Heavy Industries to nearly double cell, module capacity to 600MW by 2011

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In another move by a Korean conglomerate to expand solar PV manufacturing, Hyundai Heavy Industries said it plans to double its annual module and cell production capacity from the current levels of 320MW and 370MW to 600MW, respectively, by early 2011. The company, which claims to be the largest PV cell and module producer in South Korea, will complete the near-doubling of its capacity through the expansion of its solar power factory in Eumseong, north Choong-cheong province, by early next year and start full-scale production from the second quarter of 2011.

The company said the decision to expand the Eumseong facility was based on increasing demand for solar cells and solar modules from Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, and other European countries where suppliers cannot meet the demand.

“We already had enough orders for this year, and we are now receiving orders for next year,” said Kim Kweon-tae, COO of Hyundai Heavy’s electro electric systems division. “Our target is to be [in the] global top 10 with annual sales of 2 trillion won (US$1.645 billion)and annual production capacity of 1GW by 2012.”

Farther up the PV production stream, Hyundai Heavy has also been processing 3000 tons of polysilicon prototypes at Korea Advanced Materials, a company jointly established with KCC.

It also aims to be the first Korean solar power company with a vertically integrated production scheme–from polysilicon through complete systems–by having an annual production capacity of 100MW of ingots and wafers as well.

Hyundai Heavy is one of several Korean companies along the value chain that are making sizeable investments in solar PV production and seeking to break into the top tier of global solar players.

Samsung Electronics told PV-Tech recently that it plans to spend $6 billion on building up its solar PV capabilities over the next decade, with a stated objective of scaling to multi-gigawatt-level manufacturing capacities.

LG Electronics said earlier this week that it has opened a pair of c-Si solar cell production lines, one for multicrystalline cells, the other for monocrystalline, as the first part of its own longer-term manufacturing strategy.

On the materials side, Korean polysilicon producer OCI (formerly DC Chemical) announced that it wants to become the number-two supplier of the key raw material, with plans for ramping capacity to 32,000MT by the end of 2011.

Capital equipment maker Jusung Engineering signed a deal earlier this year worth nearly US$139 million to supply turnkey c-Si and thin-film production equipment to Chinese company G Group–said to be the largest single contract in Jusung’s history.

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