Oman - Hainan Drinda ranks among the world’s largest producers of N-type TOPCon solar cells, presently rated as PV technology with the highest demand globally.

In an early boost for Oman’s drive to localize the production of hardware for its giga-scale green hydrogen projects, Chinese solar photovoltaic manufacturer Hainan Drinda New Energy Technology has announced the signing of a provisional agreement with Oman Investment Authority (OIA) for the establishment of a first-ever photovoltaic cell project in the Sultanate of Oman.

Haikou-headquartered Drinda said in a filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange that it will invest around $700 million in the construction of a high-efficiency photovoltaic cells plant in Oman.

An ‘Investment Intention Agreement’ signed by the two sides envisions the development of a PV cell plant with an annual production capacity of 10 gigawatts to be built in two phases of 5 GW each.

Established in 2003 as a manufacturer of auto parts, Hainan Drinda ventured into large-scale solar PV production in 2020 following the acquisition of a 51% stake in Shangrao Jietai New Energy Technology, a major producer of solar cells. Two years later, it bought out the remaining 49% stock of Jietai.

Last year, Drinda became the world’s first specialized solar cell manufacturer to mass produce N-type TOPCon cells, considered one of the top cell technologies with high bifaciality. This novel feature allows for additional energy to be generated from the reverse side of the module. A leader player in the global solar cell market, Drinda’s share of the TOPCon cell market was more than 57% in 2023, making it the larger producer of these high-efficiency cells globally.

For Oman, on the cusp of a major transition to renewables and green hydrogen production, plans for the establishment of a large-scale solar PV manufacturing facility come as a shot-in-the-arm for the country’s In-Country Value (ICV) goals.

With a commitment to produce 1.38 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of green hydrogen by 2030, Oman will need to set up around 35 GW of renewable capacity comprised of solar and wind farms. According to Hydrom, the orchestrator of the new green hydrogen industry, Oman will require around 40 million solar panels, in addition to over 6000 wind turbines, to achieve this renewable capacity output.

By localizing part, if not all, of this huge requirement, significant benefits will accrue to the national economy in the form of employment generation, technology transfer, utilization of local resources, and SME development.

As with the localisation of solar panel production, Oman Investment Authority (OIA), the integrated wealth fund of Oman, is also exploring the potential for the local manufacture of electrolyers. To this end, a partnership with global tech giant Siemens is making headway.

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