SNEC Exclusive: LONGi President Interview

TaiyangNews & SNEC Solar Leadership Conversations With LONGi Founder & President Zhenguo Li
LONGi Founder & President Zhenguo Li At TaiyangNews & SNEC Solar Leadership Conversations
LONGi Founder & President Zhenguo Li At TaiyangNews & SNEC Solar Leadership Conversations

At the recently concluded SNEC Conference & Exhibition 2023 in China's Shanghai, President LONGi Co-Founder Zhenguo Li  talked to TaiyangNews Managing Director Michael Schmela in an exclusive interview as part of TaiyangNews & SNEC Solar Leadership Conversations (click on photo to watch video).

Heading one of the world's largest solar PV manufacturing companies, Li has a tight grasp of the market. He believes carbon neutrality was a strong driving factor for global solar energy installations in the last 2 years. In 2022 especially, there was a rush to buy modules in Q1 in India before the Basic Customs Duty (BCD) was imposed, and also due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, there was high demand for solar. Hence annual installations last year were around 300 GW.

However, according to Li, due to high module prices last year, Chinese module demand was suppressed. This year, China should see a huge surge. Overall, Li forecasts global PV installations to grow beyond 400 GW in 2023.

Beyond 2023, he sees the market to continue to grow but the speed will slow down.

Answering Schmela's query about the growth of solar in times of need for energy independence and the attribute of energy security it brings with it, Li said over the last 2 years there was an annual growth rate of about 50% to 60%. In 2023, if we reach over 400 GW, it will be a growth of around 40%. Going by this logic, it will be an annual growth of about 25% post 2023.

As for annual solar installations reaching 1 TW level, Li expects the milestone to be reached by 2030. The industry needs to be able to reach that level to support carbon neutrality goals of the world.

As a company contributing to the TW goal, Li said LONGi will aim for a 25% to 30% global module market share.

LONGi is aware of the geopolitical situation across the globe in times of growing needs for local manufacturing, and to deal with this Li pointed out the group's efforts to expand its manufacturing footprint to outside China; pointing to Malaysia and Vietnam where it is already operational. It is also working on a 5 GW module plant in the US with Invenergy (see LONGi Partners For 5 GW US Solar Module Fab).

Li shared with TaiyangNews that LONGi is exploring more sites as in Europe and the Middle East to expand capacity, but it would depend on local policies and other resources.

LONGi's main focus is to continue investing in R&D to improve cell efficiency and drive down costs, which is something that he believes will help it maintain its market share.

In the next 5 years, as LONGi expands its vision to electrolyzers as well, Li said his company will continue to be a solar centric group, but it will keep incubating hydrogen.

"If you ask me over the next 5 years, solar will remain our dominant business pillar. The reason we forayed into hydrogen is that we believe green hydrogen and green electricity will be an important path for future energy structure," said Li. "I believe if you look at 10 years to come, may be hydrogen will become our second important growth pillar because after 10 years the growth potential of solar related businesses will start to slow down whereas hydrogen will be the next fast-growing track."

Watch the full interview with LONGi Founder & President Zhenguo Li on TaiyangNews YouTube Channel.

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