What have been the key highlights of 2020? What were the key announcements made by LONGi during the event?
2020 saw several PV companies launching higher efficiency PV products. LONGi also launched and showcased its new generation product Hi-MO 5 module with front-side power up to 540W. Compared to HiMO4, this has a higher efficiency and better cost to performance ratio. Hi-MO 5 will bring optimal LCOE to ultra large-scale PV projects and enables higher returns to investment ratio.
What new technologies and innovations were in limelight during the event? How do you foresee the PV landscape evolving over the next 2-3 years?
Hi-MO 5 continues the hallmark of “Innovation” that is typical of all LONGi’s Hi-MO series products. Based on M10 (182mm) standard gallium doped monocrystalline wafers, this high-performance product has a conversion efficiency over 21%. It must be noted that this year, the top seven module suppliers joined hands to
In this regard, this year, a total of seven PV manufacturers have officially started efforts to establish a new M10 (182mm x 182mm p-type monocrystalline) large-area wafer size standard to reduce manufacturing costs throughout the entire solar industry supply chain. It is expected that by the fourth quarter of this year, M10 products will be used widely in the Chinese market. And in the coming years, these products will become part of the mainstream offerings of large solar manufacturers supplying across the world.
Meanwhile, it is important to mention that Hi-MO 5 does not replace the existing Hi-MO 4 series – it complements, completes and strengthens the LONGi product portfolio for the specific needs of every PV application. Hi-MO 4 are best suited for rooftop solar application and LONGi is already placed quite well in this space with its offering of Hi-MO 4 series.
In your opinion, what would be the long-term impact of Covid crisis on the global solar supply chains? What has been LONGi’s strategy to deal with the impact?
Covid-19 has significantly impacted global supply chain. The movement of personnel as well as equipment has been affected due to lockdowns and border restrictions imposed by various countries. However, the impact has been relatively smaller on PV industry as compared to many other sectors. Due to economic pressure, most of the countries resumed manufacturing operations and other business activities by the end of second quarter or beginning of third quarter. So, overall, the impact on LONGi’s operations as well as demand for our products has been very limited. In the first half of 2020, LONGi matched the production capacity as per the demand of various markets including China, US and Europe. Presently, our order books are full. We expect to fully meet the set targets for 2020.
When you look at situations like the trade war do you see these as major problems for solar manufacturers or just another road bump? How do you think these will be viewed in the bigger picture?
In the past European Union and US had imposed restrictions in order to protect their local manufacturing companies. But In the long-term, these types of protection measures can actually lead to phasing out of companies which fail to upgrade their technical capabilities and offerings due to prevalence of protectionist measures. So, EU has already cancelled such trade protection measures but American government continues to protect its local players. This does not bear well for project developers as well as utilities. Take for instance the case for India. The country’s trade protectionism policies have not helped local PV manufacturing industry in scaling up and the project developers still rely heavily on imports from countries including China despite high duties.
What have been the key factors responsible for LONGi’s financial feat despite an extremely competitive environment?
LONGi relies on technical progress to promote development. Leading technical and reliable products bring our customers higher income and benefits. This, in turn, improves our profitability. This profitable loop of operations is key to LONGi’s financial health. LONGi’s market share has increased significantly in the past few years.
What are the biggest risks and challenges you foresee for the solar power industry in general and PV manufacturers in particular? What should be the strategy to minimise/mitigate supply and demand side risks?
Local protective policies are one challenge. As the number one PV supplier, LONGi has successfully dealt with several policy challenges. There are some potential challenges like some day, some new technologies will come up those are totally game changing. That will be a big loss for existing PV players company. However, because LONGi continues to focus on the future of solar power generation technology, we believe that we will always be the first one to introduce such technologies and launch it globally. By doing so, we will always be able to protect our customer as well as the supply chain. We are ready for cooperation with upstream raw material suppliers to make sure that our supply chain remains intact.