The Future In Focus As Trina Solar, Tongwei In JV For Ingots, Wafers, 210 Series

The battle for the next stage of solar growth continues to intensify, with the announcement of a Joint venture between two more Chinese majors, Trina Solar and Tongwei. Both are large, established players, with Tongwei a particularly key supplier of cells to the industry in China. The new JV hopes to fill in to critical gaps for the two new partners. Better control over crystalline silicon supplies including ingots, and a joint push behind the 210mm cell standard, an even larger cell than the 182 mm standard being promoted by some other key manufacturers in China.

The announcement follows the announcement of a joint initiative by three other China -based manufacturers, Jinko Solar, Longi Solar and JA Solar to push forward with the 182mm standard for large sized cells and modules.

Making the announcement on November 17, the latest agreement will see Trina Solar collaborate with Tongwei subsidiary Sichuan Yongxiang Co., Ltd, to upgrade their 210 industrial series modules that will help secure a stronger supply chain ecosystem going forward. Trina has already been one of the earliest manufacturers to launch a 600 Watt module on the back of the 210mm cell.

Gao Jifan, Chairman of Trina Solar, said: “Joint ventures and cooperation among strong players, who complement each other as well as Trina Solar and Tongwei Group do, will always create great advantages.”

The partnership will see the two enterprises work together on four key project areas. The first includes a high-purity crystalline silicon project with an annual output of 40,000 tons, as well as an ingot project expected to produce an annual output of 15GW. There will be a wafer-cutting project with an annual output of 15GW, and a high-efficiency crystalline silicon cell project, also with an annual output of 15GW.

Total investment in the venture is estimated to be worth US$ 2.3 billion, with Trina Solar gaining a shareholding ratio of 35%, and the total registered capital contribution has been set at US$ 32 million.

Wu Qun, secretary of the board of directors of Trina Solar, said  “Trina Solar and Tongwei both have outstanding advantages in their roles for the industrial chain. They have reached a consensus on 210 series modules, and this cooperation will further strengthen our strategic partnership. Through the joint efforts of all industry partners, the 210-product industry chain has matured, and is now more conducive for deeper integration.”

By the end of 2021, Trina Solar plans to have a photovoltaic module production capacity of no less than 50GW, most of which will be at 210 module production capacities. In the future, the company will continue to strengthen its scale advantages of advanced module production capacity based on large-size cells.

As part of the agreement, Trina Solar will purchase approx. 72,000 tons of polysilicon products between January 2021 and December 2023 from a number of Tongwei Group subsidiaries including Sichuan Yongxiang Polysilicon Co., Ltd., Sichuan Yongxiang New Energy Co., Ltd., Inner Mongolia Tongwei High Purity Crystal Silicon Co., Ltd., and Yunnan Tongwei High Purity Crystal Silicon Co.

Ms. Chen Ye, Assistant Vice President of Procurement Supply Chain Management of Trina Solar, said: “This long-term procurement will facilitate timely and effective responses to changes in the market, ensuring the long-term stability of Trina Solar’s supply chain, and will provide strong support for the production capacity of Vertex Series 210 ultra-high-power modules.”

Trina Solar’s collaboration with Tongwei Group follows the signing of further procurement deals by the company in recent weeks.

On November 2Trina Solar signed a 20GW silicon wafer procurement contract with Wuxi Shangji Automation Co., Ltd., and on November 15 signed an 85 million square meter photovoltaic glass procurement contract with Changzhou Almaden Co., Ltd.

The new wave of cooperation among Chinese manufacturers points to two inescapable conclusions. The era of larger modules is here, as the largest manufacturers will shift to a portfolio made up of these now. Secondly, chinese manufacturers are reacting to efforts elsewhere, including in India, to manufacture domestically, by raising the stakes when it comes to the trade off between quality and price on one hand, and domestic sourcing on the other. New manufacturers, unless they invest heavily in to the latest manufacturing equipment and new standards, will struggle to find export markets for their products

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International

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