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With power system development lagging behind, Chinese solar manufacturers will continue to face business difficulties

published: 2013-04-19 15:07

According to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, US module company First Solar achieved the greatest profit among other global module companies in 2012, showing an annual gross profit of 852 million USD. Chinese company Yingli Solar, on the other hand, faced a gross loss of 59.2 million USD. First Solar and Yingli Solar, however, both faced a net loss . (96.338 million USD and 512 million USD, respectively).

In the recent annual conference, First Solar showed optimism towards the 2013 solar development. Over the years, they have continued to reduce cost as well as improve their visibility in emerging markets; it is known that First Solar has not only launched business in North America, but also allocated resources in emerging markets such as India, Chile, the Middle East, and China. Starting from 2012, they also aggressively invested in power systems and developed areas including project development, EPC, and O&M, and this business transformation has brought considerable feedback. In 2013, First Solar plans to produce 1.4GW power systems (80%-90% of their total capacity), and in 2014, they tend to reach 1.5GW-1.6GW and reduce the impact of the market price by maintaining a high utilization rate.

On the other hand, Chinese first-tier manufacturers that still focused on module production were affected by the rapid price decline in 2H2012 and failed to gain considerable profit. In addition, due to the smaller investment scale of self-developed projects, in the case of high utilization rate, module prices are more vulnerable to market fluctuations. Therefore, compared with First Solar, they are more likely to face the loss of profit. Yingli, for example, has faced profit loss throughout the whole year of 2012. In order to improve their business, Chinese manufacturers have begun to increase project developments and the investment in engineering turnkey projects; major manufacturers such as Yingli, Trina, and ReneSola, for example, have started to invest in the Chinese and global market in order to acquire a larger market share. 

As for the spot market, slow price decline still occurred in the Chinese polysilicon market. As for USD quotes, affected by the decreased demands, polysilicon spot price has continued to fall. On the other hand, cell manufacturers have continued to receive numerous orders; this week’s average price consistently increased.

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