Chinese photovoltaic company: navigating the energy transition

By Sheng Chuyi (People's Daily Online) 17:11, August 22, 2023

Located in Xi’an, the capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, the 3,000-square-meter LONGi Green Energy Exhibition Hall is a kaleidoscope of technological wonders in the photovoltaic (PV) industry.

Established by LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd. (LONGi), this exhibition space doubles as an educational center, inviting students and the wider public to explore the intricacies of green and low-carbon energy.

Dennis She (She Haifeng), vice president of LONGi, receives an exclusive interview with People's Daily Online. (People's Daily Online/Huangfu Wanli)

Among the advanced products on display, Dennis She (She Haifeng), vice president of LONGi, highlighted Hi-MO 5 and Hi-MO 6 — LONGi’s flagship PV modules known for their high efficiency and aesthetic appeal. Committed to innovation, LONGi unveiled the Hi-MO 7 on May 24, 2023, a product leveraging HPDC (High Performance and Hybrid Passivated Dual-Junction Cell) technology.

These innovations reflect LONGi’s dedication to a zero-carbon future. Founded in 2000, this leading global solar module firm is blazing a trail towards a greener world together with other Chinese photovoltaic companies.

A leader in technology

Recognizing the strategic significance of the levelized cost of energy (LCOE), Dennis She told People's Daily Online that achieving a lower LCOE “should always be something in LONGi’s genes.”

To realize this, LONGi continually refines its R&D capabilities to produce cost-effective, efficient products.

A production line of LONGi Green Energy Technology. (Photo courtesy of LONGi Green Energy Technology)

Bifacial technology adoption is an exemplary case. This advancement allows PV modules to generate electricity from both their front and rear, a significant leap from previous designs that only utilized the front. Dennis She emphasized that this innovation underscores LONGi’s attempts to maximize the use of solar energy.

A view of Baoshan “net-zero plant” of LONGi. (Photo courtesy of LONGi Green Energy Technology)

With an eye to China’s dual carbon goals, which is to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, LONGi aims to convert its Baoshan production facility in southwest China's Yunnan Province into its first “net-zero plant” by the end of this year. In 2022, renewable sources accounted for 99 percent of the factory’s power supply, achieved through green power purchases and upgrading energy-saving technologies. This project marks the beginning of LONGi’s journey towards zero-carbon emissions, which also embodies LONGi’s “Solar for Solar” concept proposed in 2018.

Catalyzing the global energy transition

As the first Chinese firm to endorse all three of The Climate Group’s initiatives — EV100, EP100, and RE100 — and the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), LONGi actively supports the global energy transition.

A production line of LONGi Green Energy Technology. (Photo courtesy of LONGi Green Energy Technology)

LONGi consistently shares its innovations with other PV companies without charge. “The energy transition is not a target for a company, but for all human beings,” said Dennis She, adding that further efforts should be made to foster synergistic development within the industry.

A production line of LONGi Green Energy Technology. (Photo courtesy of LONGi Green Energy Technology)

LONGi also provides a model for the industry in terms of customer service. Dennis She believes renewable energy firms should collaborate closely with local partners, offering tailored solutions rather than just products. This approach enables global clients to realize their decarbonization strategies more efficiently.

Satisfying higher demands

The pressing need to combat climate change, combined with expansive domestic and overseas markets and China’s dual carbon goals, all delineate a relatively clear timetable and rosy prospects for China’s PV industry.

A production line of LONGi Green Energy Technology. (Photo courtesy of LONGi Green Energy Technology)

However, Chinese PV companies also face challenges related to energy reliability and meeting global client requirements. Dennis She stated that making renewable energy more reliable remains a major challenge for the industry. Responses to this challenge include improving energy efficiency and integrating other forms of energy aside from solar power into the system.

Addressing the evolving needs of global clients, Dennis She explained that “more and more countries actually want not only products from China. They want customer service and products. They even want companies to build factories close to their markets.” In response, Chinese companies should extend their focus beyond sales and marketing to prioritize customer service, supply chain management, and localized manufacturing.

Headquarters of LONGi Green Energy Technology. (Photo courtesy of LONGi Green Energy Technology)

As environmental challenges threaten global stability, the spotlight shines bright on clean and renewable energy, emphasizing the PV industry's role in propelling green development. Chinese photovoltaic enterprises, exemplified by LONGi, are at the forefront of shaping a sustainable future.

(Guo Siqi, as an intern, also contributed to this article.)

(Web editor: Sheng Chuyi, Du Mingming)


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