Bookmark and Share

Longi Silicon Challenges GCL As Dominant Supplier Of Solar Wafer With Acquisitions And Expansion

0 Comment

Longi Silicon To Be Largest Wafer Player

Longi Silicon was a relative latecomer to the solar manufacturing industry but has made tremendous strides since then. The company has championed a cheap form of monocrystalline silicon technology and has become the largest producer of mono solar wafers for the industry. The company has also made plans for a large downstream play in solar modules and cells through its fully owned subsidiary Lerri Solar. Longi Silicon thinks that the industry will gradually move towards mono technology and leave the current dominant multicrystalline technology behind. This goes against the biggest supplier of multicrystalline solar technology – GCL Poly.


Polysilicon, from which solar wafer is made

Longi has made smart steps to rapidly expand its manufacturing capacity by acquiring the solar wafer assets of the failed SunEdison which gave it a foreign manufacturing base in Malaysia. The company is now following it up by again buying the distressted asset of Comtec Solar in Malysia. For around $29 million, Longi will buy the land and facilities including the ingot pulling equipment. The saws and other equipment will not be bought from Comtec.

Note Comtec Solar was the biggest supplier of mono wafers to Sunpower. However, the recent financial issues by Sunpower and its closure of factories in Philippines means that Comtec Solar has no customer left. There are only a few large makers of n-type high efficiency solar cells and Comtec Solar was suddenly left with no customer. Comtec Solar is going to get out of the solar manufacturing business and focus more on the downstream side of the business. This further reduces the competition of Longi in the mono wafer space.

Longi has made another significant move by announcing the JV with industry leading players such as Trina Solar and Tongwei to build a giant 5 GW solar wafer factory in China. This marks the biggest competitive play against GCL in the wafer part of the solar supply chain. With almost 30% of the industry capacity, GCL used to rule this part of the segment but Longi with massive capacity expansion is challenging GCL on its home turf. The technology differentiation is also quite large between these companies and indicate a different philosophy for industry growth. On the other hand direct wafer production by a new startup in USA 1366 Technologies also poses a threat to the established wafer companies. In recent trials, 1366 Technologies has said that the cells made out of its wafers are reaching efficiency that match the current technology.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

No Responses so far | Have Your Say!