Author InfoLink
Updated July 06, 2020

China’s leading n-type suppliers were quite busy in May. The month saw signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for HJT project and announcements of capacity expansion for HJT equipment. These moves indicate that n-type technology is increasingly being recognized in the solar market. 

On May 30, Chinese equipment supplier S.C New Energy Technology signed a MoU with Akcome for cooperation in a 2 GW n-type heterojunction (HJT) technology innovation project, seeking to develop a new technique for enhancing the Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) system and Transparent Conductive Oxide (TCO) equipment for HJT cell manufacturing. The patent rights will be jointly owned by the two companies.

HJT technology is seen as the next-generation mainstream because it enables solar cells to reach higher efficiency. This has encouraged Chinese equipment suppliers to invest in HJT. Yingkou Jinchen Machinery, for example, has announced in May that it plans to raise RMB 380 million (US$53 million) to build 40 sets of PECVD equipment for HJT cell manufacturing in a year.

Jinchen claimed that with the investment, it will acquire the key technology for HJT equipment, thereby helping cell manufacturers reduce dependency on foreign products.

The rise of Chinese HJT equipment manufacturers has posed threat to foreign equipment suppliers. Swiss solar equipment maker Meyer Burger, for instance, attributed its business losses in 2019 to increasingly fierce competition in China.

In response to the difficult market environment, Meyer Burger has adjusted the business model to focus entirely on HJT and smartwire technologies, and restructured certain non-core businesses for cost optimization. In addition, the company announced in May that it is going to expand capacities for HJT cells and modules in the existing production site in Germany. Starting with 400 MW of capacity per year, it expects to achieve 1.4 GW and 800 MW capacity respectively for cells and modules by 2022.

The gigawatt-scale production line could help the European company regain ground amid China’s dominance in the solar market. According to Peter Fath, chairman of the photovoltaic equipment production board of the German engineering association Verbandes Deutsches Maschinenbau Anlagen (VDMA), the pandemic could offer opportunities for German PV manufacturing sector as foreign companies seek to reduce dependency on China in the wake of COVID-19. 

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