Solar Builder

JAN 2018

Solar Builder focuses on the installation/construction of solar PV systems. We cover the latest PV technology (modules, mounting, inverters, storage, BOS) and equip installers/contractors with tips and tools to make informed purchasing decisions.

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20 JA N UA RY / F E B RUA RY 2 0 1 8 The LONGi-term play E ven amid the tariff uncertainty, China-based LONGi Solar is ready to establish a bigger pres- ence in the U.S. and intrigues us in the (ahem) long-term. Wholly owned by LONGi Group, there was speculation that in a punitive tariff scenario the company might consider establishing its own U.S. manufacturing line, but when we asked about it, the leadership team had no news of that kind to reveal. Just know that they are watching the U.S. market and Trump's decision closely, weighing a lot of scenarios. "The United States will continue to be one of the major PV markets in the world, and we are fully committed to the U.S. PV market," the company told us. "With PV system cost continuing to drop, more and more states will reach grid parity. We are actively assessing the trade case and keep all options open to serve the U.S. market." Some numbers for context: • For the last 17 years, LONGi has been in mono products development, committing about 5 to 7 percent of its annual revenue to R&D on high-efficiency mono c-Si ingot, wafer, cell and module technology. • LONGi is the largest supplier of mono- crystalline silicon wafers in the world with more than $2.7 billion in total assets in 2016. • LONGi Solar shipped more than 3 GW mono modules by 2016, and will ship approximately over 4.5 GW high effi- ciency mono modules in 2017. Focus on PERC The main area of focus for LONGi is its PERC cell development. In this year's DNV- GL module extended reliability scorecard, both of its conventional mono and mono PERC modules were among "top perform- ers" for all testing categories — the latter of which has been a big focus since releasing its PERC module, Hi-MO 1, in 2016. "We are seeing more and more customers realizing the benefit of mono PERC mod- ules," the LONGi team told Solar Builder. "Just two years ago, PERC cell capacity accounted for about 5 GW of the market. But the drive for higher efficiencies in the world's largest solar market, China, has turned the tables." Mono PERC modules bring a new eco- nomic advantage to the solar market. Due to the higher conversion efficiency associated with mono PERC technology, solar devel- opers can use fewer modules and less equip- ment to achieve a desired energy output for a project. This, in turn, saves money due to lower area-dependent balance-of-system costs for items including racking and mounting hardware, cabling and wiring as well as mechanical and electrical installa- tion. PERC cell capacity is expected to reach about 35 GW in 2017, or roughly one-third of all PV module production, according to GTM Research. Bifacial upgrade Last year, LONGi Solar upgraded Hi-MO 1 to Hi-MO 2, capturing the best features of LONGi's Hi-MO 1 technology platform — low-degradation, high-power PERC technology — and combining them with bifacial technology. In mass production, Get familiar with this record-breaking Chinese manufacturer By Chris Crowell MODULES NEW IN

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