- LONGi’s H1-2023 silicon wafer shipments of 52.05 GW saw a YoY growth of 31.37%, with solar module shipments totaling 29.92 GW, an increase of 54.87%
- The company expects to reach a 30 GW TOPCon production capacity by Q1 2024 as an interim technology route
- XBC seems to be the long-term focus for the company with an installed capacity of 30 GW, which will be extended according to market demand
LONGi Solar, the world’s leading solar manufacturer, hosted its H1-2023 performance briefing on September 5th, which centered around the firm’s half-yearly operating data, project updates, and its impressive technology roadmap. Reporting strong H1 2023 performance, LONGi said that its silicon wafer shipments reached 52.05 GW in the 1st half of the year, up 31.37% year-on-year (YoY), while solar module shipments totaled 29.92 GW, reflecting a YoY increase of 54.87%.
LONGi attributed the strong performance to the continued growth of the global solar market, as well as its own efforts in expanding production capacity and improving product quality. The company said that it is well-positioned to meet the growing demand for solar energy in the coming years.
The current solar market is experiencing a shift. As high-efficiency n-type solar cells become increasingly popular, there’s a heightened demand for premium-quality silicon wafers. This has pushed n-type wafers, with their superior attributes, to be priced significantly higher than their p-type counterparts. LONGi anticipates that silicon wafer quality could potentially influence the selling price of its wafer products by 5-10% in the upcoming phases.
Looking at the technology roadmap, LONGi has set a clear path for mid- and long-term goals. Characterizing TOPCon as a “transitional” cell technology, the company expects to reach a 30 GW TOPCon production capacity by Q1-2024. Any further capacity additions would only be based on XBC, an acronym for back contact cell architectures developed on the template of different cell architectures such as TOPCon and HJT, denoted as TBC and HBC, respectively. LONGi has also developed a proprietary back contact cell architecture based on p-type wafers, called HPBC, which is a variant of XBC technology that has the advantage of eliminating front-side busbar reflection, resulting in higher efficiency. With over 100 patents and a production capacity of 30 GW under its belt in the XBC realm, LONGi has carved its niche, especially with a major emphasis on HPBC products, available in 580 W and 590 W power ratings. The modules come with an undeniable advantage of eradicating any shading losses of metal contacts on the front side, thereby increasing the power generation by 2% to 3% over the incumbent TOPCon products.
Europe and Australia are the current hotspot markets for LONGi’s HPBC modules. Notably, in H1 2023, the company managed to ship 1.5 GW of HPBC modules, half of which made its way to European rooftops. These modules command a premium of 1 to 1.5 US cents per watt in mature foreign markets compared to the TOPCon products.
The path wasn’t without hurdles. LONGi’s President, Li Zhengguo, acknowledged that the HPBC technology’s initial phase posed unexpected challenges, especially in scaling up the production. However, with the current yield rate now touching 95%, the future looks bright with aims of elevating this to 96% to 98%. LONGi projects its monthly HPBC module production to surpass 2.2 GW from December onwards, targeting an annual 30 GW next year, predominantly catering to the global rooftop clientele. As of now, HPBC focuses on the rooftop market, keeping bi-facial modules off its current plans. However, by the end of 2024, the introduction of a new product series, HPBC Pro, might change this narrative.