(Yicai Global) Aug. 10 -- Tongwei Co. plans to invest CNY8 billion (USD1.2 billion) to construct a high purity crystalline silicon production line with annual capacity of 50,000 tons in Baotou City, Inner Mongolia, to further develop its photovoltaic business.
The company headquartered in China's southwestern Sichuan province has struck an investment agreement with the Baotou municipal government, and the investment will be made via its subsidiary Sichuan Yongxiang Co., Tongwei said in a filing yesterday.
The project will be constructed in two phases. The first-phase 25,000-ton high purity crystalline silicon project will commence by Sept. 30 and is expected to go into production next year while market demand will determine when the second phase starts.
Baotou city, an important industrial base in West China and concurrently one of China's first-batch demonstration areas for renewable energy consumption, currently has energy, raw materials, rare earth, new coal chemical and equipment manufacturing bases and is now planning to build its wind power base and photovoltaic technology base, the filing states.
In 2015, Tongwei spent USD300 million (CNY2 billion) to acquire Sichuan Yongxiang, the leader of China's crystalline silicon industry in terms of quality, cost and efficiency as it apples international mainstream improved Siemens production technology, per public information.
Sichuan Yongxiang has already completed building a high purity crystalline silicon project with an annual 20,000-tons capacity in Sichuan, and it also has an under-construction project with an annual capacity of 50,000 tons. When the first operations of the Baotou project begin, Sichuan Yongxiang's annual output of crystalline silicon will climb to 120,000 tons.
Crystalline silicon is the main material in manufacturing solar photovoltaic panels, and silicon photovoltaic cells make up more than 98% of total photovoltaic cells at present.