NPD Solarbuzz: Chinese solar PV industry rebound continues


Yingli and Jinko Forecast to Announce Record PV Shipment and Costs for Q3’13

During the third quarter of 2013 (Q3’13), the recovery of the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry took a major step forward. Nine of the top ten solar PV module suppliers are forecast to achieve quarterly shipment growth, with six set to claim all-time shipment records. Module pricing for the leading tier 1 Chinese suppliers stabilized for the third consecutive quarter, at approximately $0.63/W, allowing gross margins to increase to 18 percent, according to findings from the latest NPD Solarbuzz Module Tracker Quarterly report  

“During the third quarter of 2013, new solar PV module shipment records are likely to be reported by Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, First Solar, Jinko Solar, and Renesola,” according to Ray Lian, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. ”For the seventh consecutive quarter, Yingli Green Energy is forecast to post another solar PV industry record for quarterly module shipments, driving Yingli’s twelve month shipments to 3 gigawatts.”

For the trailing twelve month (ttm) period ending in Q3’13, leading Chinese module suppliers Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar, and Canadian Solar occupied the top three global rankings for total megawatts shipped, with Jinko Solar likely to grab the third ranking position during Q3’13. During Q3’13, Chinese tier 1 suppliers held seven of the top ten module shipment ranking positions, with Renesola, Hanwha SolarOne, and Hareon Solar completing the list of dominant Chinese suppliers.

The blended average selling price (ASP) for the top-20 solar PV module suppliers during Q3’13 showed a slight quarter over quarter (Q/Q) decline to $0.74/W, compared to $0.75/W during Q2’13. This decline was driven mainly by the decreases in ASPs within the Japanese market, where increased competition between domestic and foreign suppliers is starting to erode the historic ASP premiums available in Japan.

Crucially the blended ASPs for tier 1 Chinese module suppliers have now been flat, at approximately $0.63/W, for the first three quarters of 2013. Jinko Solar continues to have the lowest blended costs across all tier 1 solar PV suppliers, and is set to become the first to reach the landmark $0.50/W, for silicon and non-silicon costs. Within the non-Chinese tier 1 category, REC Solar emerged with the most cost competitive structure during Q3’13.

As a result of these cost reductions, blended gross margins for the top-20 solar PV module suppliers increased to 12.5 percent in Q3’13, compared to 11.3 percent in Q2’13. Leading tier 1 suppliers Jinko Solar and Renesola are now driving a select group of Chinese module suppliers exceeding gross margins above 18 percent.

The market share assigned to the top-20 module suppliers remains above 70 percent across most countries; however, in China, which was the strongest end-market during Q3’13, the top-20 suppliers provided just 50 percent of solar PV modules. This situation is due to strong shipments from domestic tier 2 and tier 3 module producers that are choosing to focus now on the Chinese market, as opposed to shipping modules overseas.

In the US, First Solar continues to dominate module supply, due to its strong pipeline of large-scale utility projects; however, Yingli Green Energy has now replaced SunPower as the second largest module supplier for the ttm period ending Q3’13. Trina Solar maintained its fourth ranked position, with Canadian Solar and Renesola completing the top six rankings.

Over the next few quarters, additional cost reductions are expected to come mainly from efficiency gains, complementing the material cost reductions obtained over the past 18 months. And with global ASPs likely to fluctuate within a relatively small range, several of the leading tier 1 Chinese module suppliers are poised to reclaim gross margins above 20 percent, which were last reported at the end of 2010.

About Ritesh Pothan

Ritesh Pothan, is an accomplished speaker and visionary in the Solar Energy space in India. Ritesh is from an Engineering Background with a Master’s Degree in Technology and had spent more than a decade as the Infrastructure Head for a public limited company with the last 9 years dedicated to Solar and Renewable Energy. He also runs the 2 largest India focused renewable energy groups on LinkedIn - Solar - India and Renewables - India
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