One of the world’s leading silicon wafer producers, XI’AN LONGi Silicon Materials Corp, has expressed intentions to set up a manufacturing unit in India.

LONGi Chairman Baoshen Zhong recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the state government of Andhra Pradesh to set up a solar cell and module manufacturing unit. LONGi plans to invest Rs 1,500 crore (around $230 million) to set up the manufacturing facility with an annual production capacity of 1 GW of cells and modules each.

LONGi will also set up a 500 MW solar power park near the manufacturing facility.

Andhra Pradesh would provide an excellent platform for LONGi to make further in-roads into the Indian solar power market. Th state government has announced plans to add 5 GW of solar power capacity by 2019.

The state government has already allocated several hundred megawatts of solar power capacity through competitive auctions. The central government, too, recently organised the first competitive auction under the revised National Solar Mission. The 500 MW tender was subscribed 10 times over with as many as 6 developers willing to set up the entire 500 MW capacity on their own.

Project development in Andhra Pradesh has already attracted several Chinese manufacturers to supply modules and even make equity investments. Hanwha Q Cells recently announced an agreement with Azure Power to supply modules and invest in the development of a 50 MW solar PV power plant in the state. Zhongli Talesun will supply 222 MW of solar PV modules to ACME Cleantech for projects coming up in Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring Telangana.

In July, Hareon Solar announced phase 1 of the planned 1 GW production facility for solar PV cells in India. The company plans to set up a production line of 160 MW in the first phase, which would be operational by mid-2016. The company also signed an agreement with ReNew Power to supply modules and invest in a 72 MW solar power project in Andhra Pradesh.