Major polysilicon and merchant solar cell manufacturer, Tongwei Group and subsidiary Tongwei Solar are to significantly increase high-purity polysilicon production and high-efficiency solar cell production over the next five years.
Tongwei said that a new 30GW solar cell manufacturing hub in Jintang County, Chengdu, China would be built over a five-year period at an estimated cost of RMB 20 billion (US$2.86 billion) and be built on 600 acres of land.
The project would be built in four phases in which the first and second phases would cost around RMB 4 billion (US$573 million) each to expand solar cell capacity by 7.5GW, up from 20GW currently.
The first phase of the 7.5GW solar cell project would be started before March 2020 and is expected to be completed during 2021. Phase two will bring the new cell capacity to a total of 15GW.
Tongwei expects to reach a cell capacity of 60GW in 2022 and could expand capacity to between 80GW to 100GW in 2023, subject to demand.
Tongwei will also fabricate N-type mono TOPCon (tunnel oxide passivated contact) solar cells with planned conversion efficiencies of above 25%. The company said that it expected TOPCon cells to have efficiencies of 0.8 to 1% higher than PERC cells.
After ramping a 400MW heterojunction (HJ) solar cell line in 2019, Tongwei expects part of the new cell capacity to allocated to HJ technology with conversion efficiencies of between 24.5% to 25%.
The solar cell lines would also be fully compatible with key large-area wafer sizes, including the 210mm size, using 300mm diameter ingots.
Having expanded high-purity polysilicon production to 80,000MT in 2019, Tongwei has set goals to expand capacity to 290,000MT in 2023.
The capacity expansions will also be phased in with an initial plan to expansion capacity to 150,000MT in 2021.
Tongwei had previously stated goals of expanding polysilicon capacity to 120,000MT in 2020.