Tongwei Co. plans to spend 12 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) to build two solar-cell factories that would make the Chinese firm the worldâ€™s biggest manufacturer of products that generate electricity from the sun.
The companyâ€™s Tongwei Solar Energy (Hefei) unit will set up one plant in the eastern city of Hefei and a second in the southwestern city of Chengdu, each with an annual production capacity of 10 gigawatts, its parent said in a Nov. 6 statement on the website of the Shanghai stock exchange.
The investment is part of Tongweiâ€™s plan to achieve 30 gigawatts of cell capacity. Its current 5.4 gigawatts makes Tongwei the worldâ€™s fourth-biggest solar-cell producer, and the company has an additional 4.3 gigawatts of capacity under construction.
The worldâ€™s largest cell maker, Shanghai-based JA Solar Holdings Co., has an annual capacity of 6.5 gigawatts, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Tongweiâ€™s plants will focus on unmanned intelligent manufacturing of high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon solar cells, according to the statement.
The rapid expansion of such products could challenge the market next year, said Jiang Yali, a BNEF analyst in Hong Kong. â€śWhether Tongwei will carry out its plan in the short term is unknown,â€ť she said.
The projects are expected to gradually start operation in three to five years, based on market demand, Tongwei said. Once completed, theyâ€™re projected to boost the companyâ€™s annual revenue by as much as 24 billion yuan.