LONGi Solar surpasses industry leaders in R&D spending in 2017

By Editor


LONGi solar announced it has set a new solar industry R&D expenditure record in 2017 by spending RMB 1.1 billion (US$175.7 million), up 96.67 percent from US$89.2 million in 2016.

With this, LONGi Solar not only surpassed two historical leaders, First Solar and SunPower, but also spent more in one year than any PV manufacturer to date.

LONGi reported total revenue of RMB 16.362 billion (US$2.59 billion) in 2017, up almost 42 percent from the previous year. Therefore, R&D spending accounted for 6.77 percent of revenue in 2017.

LONGi surpassed perennial top ranked R&D spenders, First Solar and SunPower, respectively, by a significant margin. Both companies cut R&D spending in 2017, the first time for SunPower in four years, while First Solar trimmed R&D spending for the third consecutive year, as per the analysis from PV Tech.

In contrast, LONGi has increased R&D spending for six years in a row and has maintained a high-level of R&D investment over the last four years.

Initially, LONGi was a dedicated monocrystalline ingot and wafer producer, but in 2015, the company started producing monocrystalline solar cells and modules. Focused on high-efficiency PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell) technology, R&D spending almost doubled each year after 2016.

However, in reporting R&D expenditure of US$175.7 million, LONGi also set a new annual solar industry spending record, according to an analysis from PV Tech.

First Solar had previously held the record at US$143.9 million, set in 2014. First Solar remains the leader in R&D spending on a cumulative basis, reaching over US$1.11 billion between 2007 and 2017.

SunPower remains second ranked at over US$663 million in the same time period. However, LONGi has jumped ahead of several other PV manufacturers to take the third ranked position with over US$390 million in cumulative R&D spending since 2012.

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