Unigreen Energy breaks ground on gigawatt HJT factory

Unigreen has started construction on the gigawatt factory that was announced last year. Image: Unigreen.

Unigreen Energy, owned by Hevel majority shareholder Ream Management LLC, has broken ground on a wafer and cell manufacturing plant that will produce 1.3GW of silicon n-type monocrystalline ingots and wafers as well as 1GW of heterojunction technology (HJT) solar cells.

The new EnCore factory in Kaliningrad, Russia, which is along the Baltic coast between Poland and Lithuania, will be located at Chernyakhovsk industrial zone. It will be focused on HJT, which is on the rise now given the strong global demand for highly efficient solar modules. Production is scheduled to start in late 2022.

Ream Management LLC, the majority owner of Russia-based Hevel Solar, among Europe’s early movers in HJT, is behind the plans.

According to Finlay Colville, head of research at PV Tech’s parent company Solar Media: “Currently, Hevel Solar is the leading producer of heterojunction solar cells globally, and the new site in Kaliningrad has the scope to move Russian PV manufacturing to levels not seen before.

“Focusing on cell supply (as opposed to module supply that necessitates key downstream relationships) also allows the manufacturing entity to focus on technology and production issues, and not be stretched between upstream manufacturing and downstream end-market selling.”

The Gigafactory will become the largest production facility in Europe, that company claimed. It plans to sell most of the produced volumes overseas, including Europe, Asia-Pacific and other regions.

In September last year, PV Tech reported on the initial plans and how, globally, there remains a strong appetite to make n-type variants, including heterojunction, once p-type PERC has reached its limits in efficiency.