(Yicai Global) Nov. 17 -- Wuxi Suntech Power Co. the world's biggest producer of photovoltaic panels, will see its production capacity reach a new record-high of over 2.5 gigawatts (GW) this year, up from its previous high of 2.12 gigawatts set in 2011, online media outlet Jiemian News reported.
The new peak is a sign that the firm's products have been well received in the market and restructuring has enhanced its smooth development path, said Zhang Wei, vice president at Suntech Power Holdings Co.
The new high is driven by the more sophisticated production techniques employed and strict quality management, Zhang said, adding that despite a sharp increase in capacity, its workforce has declined significantly.
"In 2011, we had 10,000 to 15,000 workers on our production lines, and all welding was done manually. But now we have less than 1,400 production line workers," he said.
Suntech has upgraded all of its key equipment in order to increase automation, and it's also brought in automatic assembly lines and welding.
The firm, founded in 2001, took a hard hit in 2013 when the US and Europe imposed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on Chinese solar panel imports. Following bankruptcy and restructuring, it is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shunfeng International Clean Energy Ltd. [HK:1165], focused on solar panel business.
Suntech has shipped some 14 gigawatts of solar panels since 2008, of which about one-third has been sold domestically, while the majority is shipped to overseas markets such as Europe, the US and Japan.