GCL, Canadian Solar link for cell plant

Polysilicon and wafer producer GCL-Poly started building a PV cell plant with Canadian Solar in eastern China last week — which the partners said could swell to 1.2GW of capacity.

By the end of this year, the two companies expect to bring 60MW of production capacity online at the factory in Funning, Jiangsu province, Canadian Solar chief executive Shawn Qu said in a conference call last week. The plant’s production capacity could eventually reach 1.2GW, Qu said.

Canadian Solar owns 80% of the venture, while GCL-Poly — the world’s biggest maker of polysilicon and wafers for the PV sector — holds the remaining 20%. The two sides first announced plans to collaborate on cell production in 2011.

The news comes days after GCL-Poly revealed that its PV wafer sales rose 85.6% on the year in the first quarter to 2.75GW.

GCL-Poly’s polysilicon sales rose 8.7% from the first quarter of last year to 4,024 tonnes in the three months to 31 March, it said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

It produced about 16,022 tonnes of polysilicon in the January-March period, up roughly 85.2% from the first quarter of 2013.

Wafer production jumped 134.3% from a year earlier to approximately 2.9GW. GCL-Poly’s annual wafer production capacity hit 12GW at the end of the first quarter.

The company expects production to reach 13GW by the end of this year. It kept its full-year polysilicon production capacity target at 65,000 tonnes. It said it expects to add 25,000 tonnes of granular silicon production in the 2014-2015 period.

This past winter, GCL-Poly signed an agreement to deliver roughly 4GW of wafers to Taiwan’s Neo Solar Power and Topcell Solar International.

In February, it agreed to acquire a 68% stake in circuit-board maker Same Time Holdings for HK$1.44bn ($186m).