n-type extensions – pv magazine Australia

How do you see the market for n-type technologies today?

We are already seeing demand increase. Today, PERC is still the dominant technology in PV, but it is approaching its limits in terms of efficiency. In the n-type, there is still a lot of room for improvement, and it’s starting to get a lot of attention.

Thanks to the improvements in key equipment for the production of n-type cells and modules, the investment cost of TOPCon technology is decreasing and we can achieve large-scale production very quickly. In PERC technology, the investment per gigawatt is about CNY 150 million ($23.5 million), and now for TOPCon it is about CNY 200 million. So it’s already quite close, and we have a roadmap to bring it even closer in the near future.

For TOPCon you can also upgrade from an existing PERC line, so there is a lot of interest from many established players. And as the scale gets bigger, the costs come down even more. We believe TOPCon technology is the most cost effective on the market today, and it will be the next generation consumer technology.

Talk about improvements on the equipment side – is that largely due to Jolywood’s POPAID (Plasma Oxidation and Plasma Assisted In Situ Doping) depot, which reduces the number of process steps?

Yes, our first generation of TOPCon modules required 12 processing steps, and we have now reduced that to nine, which is the same as PERC. All of our production lines now operate with this “TOPCon 2.0” technology, and we are working on the third generation, which will require even fewer steps. We hope that by the end of next year we will be ready to put this third generation into mass production.

This year, PV panel manufacturing has been hit by rising prices and supply chain disruption – how has Jolywood been affected?

It’s caused us a lot of headaches this year, it’s true. Due to energy control policies in China, we had to reduce production. And we had other challenges all along the value chain. For example, one of our suppliers sent us a notification that they had to stop production for four whole days. Securing materials for our production is difficult, and many suppliers are in a similar situation.

Silicon prices have also risen dramatically, and with this energy control policy, silicon makers are unable to increase capacity – so this could be a lingering issue into next year.

And how has this year’s PV price increase impacted the cost differential between PERC and TOPCon?

Now the difference is about $0.02 per watt. The price increase hasn’t just affected silicon – virtually all component suppliers have increased their prices. Encapsulation film, for example: We use two layers of POE film in our modules, and the price of it has increased by 40%. With glass, there was a shortage and the price rose by more than 25%. The aluminum frames and the junction box have also increased considerably. On top of that, shipping costs have gone up significantly and we don’t see any possibility of them going down again in the near future.

So it was quite difficult for us. But what we can do is maintain close communication with our suppliers and customers, and try to find a balance to reduce losses, both for us and for our customers.

Are your customers already delaying their orders in 2022, hoping to lower prices?

Not really. Many had already postponed orders from the first half to the second half, and now they have no time. Many have tight delivery times, so there is high pressure on manufacturers, but material shortages and energy limitations at the same time. For 2021, we believe that only the upstream industry will be able to make profits, while returns will be very low for module manufacturers.

And what can you tell me about Jolywood’s expansion plans?

We are building a factory in Indonesia, this has been slowed down due to Covid restrictions – our engineers have not been able to travel without long periods of quarantine. But we hope to bring this factory online in early 2022. The factory is mainly built to serve local markets, we have an agreement for a large project in Indonesia, which includes a local content requirement for modules. In the longer term, we will also target the US market with products from this factory.

We are also building a new plant in Shanxi province, China, for high-efficiency n-type cells, and it is targeting a capacity of 16 GW, which will be completed in two 8 GW phases.

And all Jolywood modules are produced in-house, right?

We have OEM contracts, but only for module assembly. The solar cells are still ours – we can’t buy more n-type cells. We also supply certain cells to other manufacturers.

What size pads are you currently using?

We have both M6 (166mm) and M10 (182mm) in production, and M10 size is common for us. This year we will also introduce the G12 (210mm) into production. And we will continue to produce certain products with M6, in particular for the residential markets. But for most of our orders today, the mainstream is the M10.

And Jolywood has teamed up with Munich Re to offer a ‘double guarantee’ – could you tell us what’s behind that?

With our n-type technology, we offer a 30-year performance guarantee, and n-type has a very low degradation rate – the guarantee covers an annual degradation of 0.4%. Additionally, we also have reinsurance with Munich Re, so customers are doubly protected. And with the support of an insurance company, even in the event of a warranty claim, we can manage things more easily. There won’t be any problems for us with cash flow, or anything like that.