Major tier-one PV manufacturer JA Solar said it was building a 400MW solar cell plant in Penang, Malaysia as well as adding capacity for high-performance monocrystalline and multicrystalline cells and modules, while establishing a JV module partnership with Essel in India.
JA Solar said it was working to establish a new 400MW solar cell manufacturing facility in Penang Malaysia. Management noted in its first quarter earnings call that it expected the plant to be completed and start ramping in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The company said it would announce further developments such as capital expenditures and a potential partner with the plant in Malaysia at a later point.
“Malaysia offers an advantageous location for our additional capacity as we continue to evaluate new opportunities in emerging markets, such as Latin America and India,” noted Baofang Jin, chairman and CEO of JA Solar.
In China, JA Solar said it would increase its P-type monocrystalline solar cells (PERCIUM) from 80MW in 2014 to 400MW in 2015. The company had previously advised an expansion to 170MW in 2014 and planned capacity increase to 350MW in 2015.
The company also noted in its earnings call that its RECIUM P-type multicrystalline cell technology would be ramped from 40MW in 2014 to 200MW in 2015.
Separately, JA Solar has signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Essel Infraproject Ltd (EIL) in India for a JV solar cell and module manufacturing plant in India. Essel Infraproject is the PV project and infrastructure arm of Essel Group.
JA Solar management mentioned that the JV would initially involve the supply of modules to Essel.
JA Solar reported first quarter 2015 revenue of US$387.7 million, down 32.8% from the fourth quarter of 2014 and up 5.6% from the prior year quarter.
Total shipments were 681.5MW, down 28.5% in the previous quarter and up from 6.8% in the prior year period. The company had previously guided shipments to be in the range of 680MW to 750MW.
Module shipments, including module tolling were 584.1MW, an increase of 50.5% year-on-year and a decrease of 33.6% sequentially.
The company reported net revenue of US$387.7 million, an increase of 5.6% from the prior year period and a 32.8% sequential decline. Gross margin was 16.1%, a decrease of 60 basis points year-on-year and an increase of 60 basis points sequentially.
Operating profit was US$24.1 million in the first quarter of 2015, while net income was US$5.6 million.
Although shipments were at the low-end of guidance in the first quarter of 2015, management reiterated full-year guidance to be in the range of 3.6GW to 4.0GW, including 200MW of modules shipments to its downstream projects.
Total cell and module shipments in the second quarter were expected to be in the range of 680MW to 720MW, indicating stronger second-half shipments.