Tongwei sets sizeable solar polysilicon, cell manufacturing capacity targets following Q1 profit leap

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Tongwei’s 15GW cell factory in Meishan Sichuan,, China. Image: Tongwei.

Solar polysilicon and cell manufacturer Tongwei has stated plans to significantly increase its manufacturing capacity over the next four years after confirming a six-fold increase in net profit in Q1 2022.

Earlier today Tongwei confirmed that its Q1 2022 revenue amounted to RMB24.69 billion (US$3.76 billion), more than double (up 132%) its performance in the corresponding quarter last year. This helped the company’s net profit soar by 513% year-on-year to RMB5.19 billion (US$791 million) as it benefitted from increased efficiencies and lower production costs.

The formal results disclosure effectively confirmed preliminary forecasts published last month.

That surge in profits is to fuel Tongwei’s push for greater manufacturing capacity in the coming years, with the manufacturer also revealing details pertaining to its expansion plans out to 2026 in a trove of documents accompanying its 2021 annual report, published yesterday.

Tongwei revealed that it finished 2021 with around 180,000MT of nameplate polysilicon production capacity, with a further 170,000MT of capacity currently under construction. Its Baotou phase two facility is due to complete later this year, while the Leshan phase 3 facility is to commence a ramp-up in 2023.

The Leshan facility in particular is expected to provide Tongwei with improved production efficiencies, reducing its production cost per kilogramme of polysilicon produced.

Tongwei expects to finish 2023 with 350,000MT of polysilicon capacity as a result, however those additions will just be the start of a significant ramp-up of production across polysilicon and solar cells as the company bids to capitalise on broader industry growth trends.

A major acceleration of capacity expansion between 2024 and 2026 will leave Tongwei with as much as 1 million MT of polysilicon output and up to 150GW of solar cell manufacturing capacity, more than three-times the 45GW cell capacity it finished 2021 with, Tongwei said.

Earlier this month Tongwei unveiled plans for a 32GW cell manufacturing facility in Sichuan, the first 16GW phase of which is expected to come onstream in 2023.

That expansion is to be accompanied by continued R&D investment, especially into n-type products. Tongwei noted that it spent around RMB2.035 billion on R&D in 2021 – equivalent to 3.2% of income – a figure which it is to maintain in the coming years, with increased support earmarked for TOPCon and HJT lines.

Today has also seen Tongwei once again crowned as the solar industry’s leading polysilicon provider by Bernreuter Research.

Last month Finlay Colville, head of market research at PV Tech, authored a piece suggesting that Tongwei – given its position as the industry’s leading polysilicon and cell producer and establishment as US$10 billion turnover company – could become the industry’s first fully vertically integrated manufacturer by 2025.

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