LONGi gearing up to service IRA-induced demand as it drives forward with module R&D  

LONGi modules being installed at a PV plant in Mexico. Image: LONGi Solar.

LONGi Solar is experiencing soaring demand for its products as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) turbocharges the US’ PV sector and is actively working to comply with the country’s import restrictions to ensure customer deliveries.

That insight was provided to PV Tech at the RE+ trade show in Anaheim, California last month, where LONGi also launched its new Hi-MO 5 54c monofacial and bifacial modules for North America’s residential and commercial and industrial (C&I) sectors.

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“It’s definitely been a rocky few years with a pandemic,” says MJ Shiao, LONGi’s head of business development. “But with the IRA, we’re seeing a tonne of demand as people’s pipelines are expanding multiple times over and they’re looking for supplies from us.”

“We are already a leading supplier to the market but how do we continue to grow with our customers?” asks Shiao.

In March 2022, LONGi announced it was to add 20GW of monocrystalline silicon wafer capacity, 30GW of high efficiency solar cell capacity and 5GW high efficiency solar module capacity in Inner Mongolia’s Ordos City. And last month it said it would increase the planned production capacity of a new ingot and wafer project from 20GW to 46GW.

Shiao said these expansions, as well as other planned buildouts outside of China, would help service that rising customer demand. Declining to say how long the company is booked out for, Shiao said: “we have quite a lot of capacity and quite a lot of demand.”

Key to meeting this demand in a US context, however, is ensuring that LONGi’s supply chains are compliant with the country’s import restrictions such as the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act (UFLPA) and the Withhold Release Order (WRO) .

“We have a very strong adherence to global compliance on the force labour side and we have a strict code of conduct,” says Shiao. “We are looking at the trade rules that are implemented in any of the countries that we’re working in and we are adhering to them.”

Shiao said LONGi was actively working with the US’ Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency in regards to both the Hoshine WRO and UFLPA in order to demonstrate that its products are compliant with the US’ import laws, ensuring reliable and timely deliveries to its clients.  

LONGi launches Hi-MO 5 54c modules at RE+

Also at the RE+ event, LONGi launched its new Hi-MO 5 54c monofacial and bifacial all black modules for North America residential and C&I sectors. The single glass module has up to 420W power and a 21.5% efficiency, while the bifacial module has a dual glass structure and maximum front power and efficiency of 415W and 21.3%, respectively. Both products are 9BB, 54c formats (108 half-cut cells) and are based on M10 wafer size, CJ Fu, head of Product and Solutions at LONGi told this site.  

Both products are based on the mature PERC technology, anti-LID and LeTID with Gallium-dopped silicon wafer and employ LONGi’s ‘Smart Soldering Technology’ that Fu said increases module efficiency and reliability.

The dimensions for both modules are 1722 x 1134 x 30mm. The monofacial module weights 45.9lbs (20.8kg) and the bifacial module weights 49.6lbs (22.5kg). Both products have operating and short circuit current lower than 15A and are compatible with mainstream inverter and optimizer. 

When asked by PV Tech what module technologies are expected to dominate in the future, Fu says “it’s still a bit early to say” but that LONGi was “evaluating various n-type and p-type technologies to develop competitive products to be introduced to the market soon.”  

“Regarding module format, we expect large format modules will dominate the market eventually. The market share for M6 wafer is gradually declining and that of larger wafers, such as M10 and G12, are increasing, with M10 occupying the highest market share. We think M10 products hit the sweet spot by reaching a balance between performance, cost and reliability.”

LONGi had previously called TOPCon technology “transitionary” but Fu prefers the term “immature”.

“Currently, we think TOPCon cell and module technology is still evolving and being optimized. If not done correctly, full potential and benefits of TOPCon may not be realized and inferior performance may occur,” he notes, adding “its reliability and yield performance still need to be verified.”

“Thus, we recommend customer to choose reliable products for return on investment. LONGi R&D teams are working hard to fully evaluate this technology, as well as other new technologies, and develop competitive products that will be introduced to the market soon.”

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