The new ITRPV 2018 roadmap expects mono to reach only 45% in 2021 and expand to 52% in 2024, from an estimated 38% share in 2017. While this is a very conservative estimate about the trend towards mono compared to other market analysts, the new announcement from GCL should swing the pendulum even faster in that direction (source: ITRPV; graphic: TaiyangNews)
- GCL-Poly has revealed plans to develop a 20 GW strong production facility for monosilicon ingots
- The fab will be developed in two phases of 10 GW capacity each, for an investment of 9 billion RMB ($1.43 Billion)
- It has signed an investment agreement with the government of Qujing prefecture where the planned facility will be located
- With unnamed strategic partners, the world’s largest wafer manufacturer and long-time proponent of multicrystalline technology, will launch a joint venture to set up and run the project
In a surprising move, China’s GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Limited announced to develop a 20 GW monosilicon ingot production facility in Qujing prefecture in Yunan province. GCL, the world’s largest wafer manufacturer and long-time proponent of multicrystalline technology, has signed an investment agreement with the local Qujing government and Qujing Economic & Technological Development Zone (QETDZ).
GCL-Poly, along with its unnamed strategic partners, will launch a joint venture that will set up this monocrystalline silicon ingot manufacturing facility. The 20 GW capacity will be developed in two phases of 10 GW each.
The Chinese company expects investments of around 9 billion RMB ($1.43 billion). Both Qujing government and QETDZ will assist GCL-Poly to identify land for the facility, ensure regulatory approvals and provide other infrastructural help for the project to construct and to operate the facility. GCL-Poly has committed to hire at least 20% staff of the new JV from the local Qujing residents.
However, one potential partner might be Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co., Ltd. (TZS). GCL-Poly said last August that it would invest in the Zhonghuan Photovoltaic Phase IV Monosilicon Rods Project. GCL also announced to hold some shares in the company, but did not provide any details. At the time, the two said they have plans to collaborate and invest in new monosilicon crystallization projects wherever appropriate.
The planned 20 GW facility will also support GCL-Poly in its research and development activities. The JV will utilize GCL’s CCZ ‘constant Czochralski monosilicon’ technology it got a hold of with the acquisition of SunEdison silicon assets. In its 2017 financial results announcement in mid-March, GCL said that the “CCZ feeding procedure will commence in June.”
In 2017, GCL produced 23.9 GW wafers, up from 17.3 GW in 2016; the capacity increased in the same period of time to 30 GW, from 18.5 GW in 2016. While GCL did not reveal in its 2017 financial report the breakdown between multi or mono, almost the entire output was multicrystalline wafers. The new 20 GW mono expansion would mean that GCL could have up to 40% mono ingot capacity soon.
GCL’s investment in mono will swing the pendulum even faster from multi towards mono, which is expected to take over the lead from long-time market dominating multi technology much earlier than anticipated by the ITRPV roadmap, which still expects mono to reach only 45% in 2021 and expand to 52% in 2024, from an estimated 38% share in 2017. Global mono wafer leader LONGi recently announced to expand its production from 17 GW in 2017 to 45 GW by 2020 (see LONGi Plans 45 GW Mono Wafer Capacity By 2020)
GCL-Poly is constructing a polysilicon production plant in Xinjiang, China with a capacity of 40,000 tons of new built facilities. It also plans to relocate a 20,000 ton capacity from its existing production facility in Xuzhou to Xinjang (see GCL-Poly Deepens Partnership With Zhonghuan). Together with its 55,000 ton capacity production at its headquarters in Xuzhou, this will increase its annual polysilicon production capacity from 75,000 tons to 115,000 tons and make GCL again the world’s largest silicon manufacturer, a title that was held by Wacker in 2016 (see Wacker World Largest Silicon Maker).