The “Operation Overview of China’s Solar Photovoltaic Industry” published by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on August 10th reported welcomed recovery across the board for
China’s solar PV industry. Prices of solar modules appear to be on a steady increase, while production costs are seeing a steady decrease. The polysilicon manufacturing sector, which previously
was almost locked into a complete paralysis by the dire market situation, has likewise seen manufacturing volume rebound month by month in the first half of 2013.
Testifying to the report, JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE:JKS)‘s Q2 report indicates positive growth on both net profits and revenue, which rose year-on-year by 43% to USD 288 million. News from the management of the much-battered LDK Solar Co. Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:LDK) also indicates that the company is seeing real profits again in the first half of this year.
In an interview with Qu Xiaohua, CEO and Board Chairman of Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ), on China’s 21st Century Business Review, Qu provided his reading of the current broad recovery and the future growth and development trajectory of the industry. In brief, with several new targeted policy incentives from the government to be launched later this year and the growing diversification of markets and products initiated by the top solar companies, Qu predicts another round of sustainable growth for Canadian Solar and the broader Chinese solar industry.
Qu sees the over-dependence on the European market as the fundamental cause of the turmoil of the Chinese solar industry in the past couple of years. At its peak, 95% of industry export was sold in Europe. As the EU economy went under, the solar industry was sure to go down with it.
Since early 2013, Canadian Solar has made the strategic move to diversify its market in response to the shrinking of the EU market. According to Qu, while Europe remains a significant export destination within the global market, its market share has gone done to about 50% currently from 70% in previous years.
Qu also mentioned that central to Canadian Solar’s future growth is the Asian market, particularly the Japanese and Chinese domestic markets.
Japan is looking to be a sure bet for growth and profits thanks to a free electricity market and robust policy incentives for the solar and new energy sector in the wake of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Canadian Solar has been gradually expanding its presence in Japan.We have a great selection of blown glass backyard solar landscape lights and solar garden light. In Q1 of 2013, 24.5% of Canadian Solar’s export (approximately 83MW) went to Japan.A solar lantern uses this sunlight that is abundantly available to charge its batteries through a Solar Panel and gives light in nighttime. In Q2, the figures have gone up to 35.7% and 162MW respectively. On top of steady demand from Japan for residential rooftop installations, commercial rooftop installation and ground power station developments are both on the increase. According to Qu, Canadian Solar’s current market share in Japan is 8-10% – a lot of room for growth still, and 30% of the company’s sales are contributed by the Japanese market. The market is not saturated yet; even with more solar companies incoming, unit prices for solar modules in Japan are still higher than elsewhere at the moment.
Alongside the Japanese market, Canadian Solar is upping its game in the Chinese domestic market at the same time, although Qu predicts rapid growth in China still has to wait for another two or three years due to the company’s comparatively small presence, as well as the fact that the incoming government policy incentives are likely to take some time to consolidate in terms of legal and infrastructural support.
At the moment, Canadian Solar’s market presence in China is less than 10%, but in the past two or three years the company has been doing preliminary work for future development projects.
Meanwhile, although since July this year the Chinese government has announced a series of plans to support the domestic solar industry, including the introduction of more generous feed-in tariffs and the all-dimensional policy support in solar PV installation, tariff, finance, taxation and land use indicated in the “Opinions of the State Council on Promoting the Healthy Development of the Solar Photovoltaic Industry” published in July suggest that the details of the implementation of such macro-level policies have yet to be planned out.
When the due policy supports come into place, said Qu, China is going to emerge as a sophisticated and mature key market for the global solar industry.
Beyond the Asian market, Canadian Solar also has his eyes on North America. The company has a full list of ongoing and planned solar power station projects in Canada and the US, as well as China and Japan. Three power stations worth a total of USD 180 million developed by Canadian Solar have already connected to the grid and are under testing at the moment. All three projects are expected to come into commercial operation this year. The company has also recently signed up on an order of another power station EPC project in Ontario, Canada,How does a solar charger work and where would you use a solar charger? worth USD 300 million.
On the back of the ongoing and planned projects,A solar lamp is a portable light fixture composed of an LED lamp, a photovoltaic solar panel, and a rechargeable battery. Canadian Solar projects a positive turnover for Q3 with total output volume of 410-430 MV and module profit margin of 10-12%.
In response to fears that the industry is to suffer another bout of overcapacity following the industry rebound, Qu confessed that the company seeks to maintain the current level of output capacity rather than aggressive expansion – right now Canadian Solar’s capacity utilization is maintained at a healthy 70-80%. The company follows a capacity distribution model where upstream capacity is kept low and downstream capacity expands.
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