Having established pilot production of its new higher efficiency cells, dubbed ‘Virtus,’ earlier this year, ReneSola has said that it shipped 54.8MW of ‘Virtus’ wafers and 20MW of ‘Virtus’ modules in June, 2011. Shipments were made to European customers, according to the company. ReneSola expects to discontinue approximately 200MW of monocrystalline wafer production this year to focus on Virtus wafer production.
ReneSola noted that Virtus wafer production was operating at an annual capacity of 900MW with a target to reach 1.8GW by the end of 2011, which will be entirely dedicated to Virtus wafer production.
Management had said in March, 2011 that ReneSola planned to spend US$350 million in 2011 to increase wafer capacity 1.9GW, up from 1.3GW in 2010. The company said yesterday that it was still at 100% utilization, despite a downward revision to shipping guidance for the second quarter.
The company claims that the higher grade V-Grade Virtus wafer achieves cell conversion efficiency rates of 17.5%-18.2%.A lower-grade wafer, dubbed, M-Grade achieves cell conversion efficiency rates of 16.7%-17.0%. These high rates of efficiency are said to be established at the wafer level prior to the cell manufacturing.
ReneSola noted that 54.8MW of Virtus wafer shipments comprised approximately 22.7MW of V-Grade wafers and 32.1MW of M-Grade. In respect to module shipments in June, all of the 20MW of modules were using V-Grade Virtus wafers. ReneSola's Virtus modules were said to generate up to 250 watts of power.
“The Virtus wafer's high conversion efficiency and relatively low cost has attracted a wealth of interest among cell manufacturing companies,” commented Xianshou Li, ReneSola's chief executive officer. “Our V-Grade Virtus wafer, which achieves a conversion efficiency rate more than 1% higher than the industry standard, has proved a worthy substitute for monocrystalline wafers with its low cost, while our M-Grade Virtus wafer's conversion efficiency is superior to the average multicrystalline wafer by up to 0.5%.”
ReneSola is in the process of applying for 10 patents related to the Virtus wafer and module, and is also applying for trademark protection in several countries.