LONGi (LONGi Green Energy Technology) announced on March 20 that its new PV cell project in China’s Shaanxi Province has entered the phase of full-scale production. Located in the Xixian New Area (Jinghe New City) of the province, the project has a production capacity of 29GW per year for high-efficiency mono-Si cells. Furthermore, the cells that are being made at the project site are all based on the Hybrid Passivated Back Contact (HPBC) technology that LONGi developed in-house. The project is being operated by LONGi’s subsidiary Xixian LERRI Solar.
Zhong Baoshen, Chairman of LONGi, stated that the new PV cell project took just one and a half years to advance from the signing of the investment agreement to full-scale production, thus setting the company’s record for the shortest project development period. However, Zhong also noted that full-scale production is “only the first step of a long journey”. Afterwards, the project will contribute more to LONGi’s overall output by ramping up and eventually reaching a fully-loaded capacity. At the same time, LONGi will continue to step up R&D and speed up the process of commercializing in-house technologies. By improving its capability to innovate, LONGi will be able to maintain its competitive advantage in the global PV market.
LONGi Says HPBC Is Currently the Efficiency Leader in Market for Mass-Produced PV Cells
HPBC is a new generation of high-efficiency PV cell technology, and it is also noted for the elimination of busbars and fingers on the cell’s surface. The engineers and scientists at LONGi have been working on HPBC for many years, eventually resulting in the successful commercialization of the technology. LONGi believes HPBC represents a revolutionary breakthrough in the “post-PERC” era. Furthermore, the company’s own research finds that as of now, HPBC offers the highest conversion efficiency rate in the market for mass-produced PV cells.
LONGi’s standard (mass-produced) HPBC cells now have a conversion efficiency rate that exceeds 25%. The company also offer a “pro” version of HPBC cells that incorporates a hydrogen-based passivation technology and have attained an efficiency rate of more than 25.3%. Through the optimization of the manufacturing process that builds the internal structure of a cell, LONGi expects its HPBC cells to achieve a high level of light absorption and a higher level of conversion efficiency. These improvements, in turn, will lead an increase in the output from modules. All in all, LONGi touts that the in-house developed HPBC technology has the advantages of higher conversion efficiency, higher reliability, more stable power output, more technological maturity, and nicer-looking products.
Based on LONGi’s own testing, a Hi-MO 6 module with HPBC cells can significantly raise generation by 6-10% compared with modules with conventional cells. This comparison is done at the same location and under the same level of solar irradiance.
LONGi Will Not Add New Production Capacity Unless It Achieves a Technological Lead
As a brand, LONGi always positions itself as a manufacturer that offers cutting-edge and reliable products. At the same time, it adheres to the “first principle thinking”. This means that the company strives to maximize value for its clients through innovations that lead to further cost-cutting and product optimization.
The phase 1 of the new PV cell project in Shaanxi entered operation in September 2022 as LONGi wanted to capitalize on the undersupply situation across the PV market. LONGi’s products have been especially in high demand in the market segment for residential rooftop PV systems. And due to the strong demand, the phase 2 and 3 of the project also entered operation ahead of the original schedule. LONGi is committed to the strategy of not adding new production capacity until it has achieved a notable lead in the technology competition. Hence, the release of its new production capacity always accompanies the advantages related to cost and performance. In the case of HPBC cells, LONGi’s approach for capacity expansion enable these products to have a uniquely desirable cost-to-performance ratio in addition to a high conversion efficiency rate, a high level of reliability, and improved appearance.
The new cell project demonstrates that being ahead in capacity expansion also means being ahead in technological R&D. From 2012 to the first half of 2022, LONGi was the R&D leader in the PV industry, committing a total of more than RMB 1.6 billion in related investments. As of June 30, 2022, LONGi has accumulated 1,808 patent and numerous core technologies. Its products continue to stand out from the competitions as well.
After advancing the development of HPBC to the mass production stage, LONGi will be introducing the technology to various application segments. In particular, HPBC is expected to take the lead in the per-kWh cost of PV systems for DG projects and thereby a major technological contribution to the market for green energy. Going forward, LONGi will keep working on the core process technologies that can lead to a higher conversion efficiency rate and pushing its innovations onto the commercialization stage. In doing so, LONGi expects that it will have the capability and capacity to meet a larger and more diverse group of customers.