December 6 (Renewables Now) - Chinese solar product manufacturer Jiangsu Seraphim Solar System Co Ltd said today it will add 500 MW of photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturing capacity at Port Elizabeth, South Africa and expand an existing module factory in the country by 200 MW.
The plan follows the recent inauguration of a 300-MW module production facility in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. The company says it sees it as a "critical element" in its globalisation strategy, with which it aims to protect its business from "unpredictable tariffs levied on Chinese manufacturers."
The new cell production plant in the Coega Industrial Development Zone of Port Elizabeth and the 200-MW half-cell solar module assembly plant expansion will be realised with Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC). Both are expected to reach commercial operations in the third quarter of next year.
"This [new solar cell] plant will be the first of its kind in Africa, and shall be a stepping stone towards the consolidation of a strong vertically-integrated operation that will see additional investments materializing in the near future," said David Nunez Blundell, co-founder of Seraphim Southern Africa.
The Chinese company, whose first manufacturing base in Zhejiang province was open in 2015, reached full production at its 300-MW module factory in South Africa in September.