China-based solar wafer and module manufacturer ReneSola has revealed it is sold out of modules until June 2013 as it reported record quarterly and annual shipment results.
The company expects module shipments to far exceed capacity, leading the company to outsource production to third party manufacturers, notably 400MW or more in Europe to beat the potential anti-dumping duties on Chinese made modules.
ReneSola reported total solar shipments (wafers and modules) in the fourth quarter of 2012 of 713.2MW, an increase of 33.9% from 532.8MW in the third quarter of 2013.
Module shipments increased 120.6% to 320.5MW, though wafer shipments were up slightly quarter-over-quarter.
Full year 2012 shipments increased to a record 2.2GW, up over 70% from 1.3GW in the prior year.
Management noted in a conference call to discuss results that module shipments were up 120.6% sequentially in the fourth quarter and up 153.9% year-on-year. The majority of module shipments were its ‘Virtus’ brand of modules which were said to have increased shipments 215.1% quarter-over-quarter.
The company guided that in the first quarter of 2013, module shipments were expected to be in the range of 280-300MW.
However, the company guided module shipments in 2013 would be in the range of 1.4-1.6GW.
Based on strong module sales and despite overcapacity remaining in the market place, ReneSola said that it was running at full capacity but said it had no plans in 2013 to increase capacity. To meet demand well ahead of its nameplate capacity, ReneSola would use third-party manufacturers.
The company noted that module processing cost decreased in the fourth quarter to US$0.60 per watt down from US$0.65 per watt in the third quarter of 2012. The company expects total solar module production costs to decrease to approximately US$0.50 per watt from US$0.55 per watt in the first quarter of 2013.
ReneSola said that it had continued to invest in R&D to improve the technology behind its products and manufacturing operations. Its next-generation Virtus A+++ wafer was claimed to have average efficiencies of 17.6% to 17.8%, which had entered trial production.
Also in trial production was its ‘Virtus II’ module with conversion efficiencies of 16%, the company said.
Wafer processing costs decreased to US$0.12 per watt in the fourth quarter 2012, down from US$0.15 per watt in the third quarter. ReneSola expects to lower wafer processing cost of its ‘Virtus A++’ manufacturing facility to US$0.11 per watt by the end of the first quarter 2013.
ReneSolar had temporarily halted polysilicon production at the end of October 2012, to upgrade and integrate Phase 2 polysilicon production with Phase 1, as it focused on reducing production costs to be competitive with market pricing.
The company said that trial production had restarted with a nameplate capacity of 10,000MT, with a cost target of US$18/kg by the end of second quarter of 2013. Production costs had been around US$23/kg previously.
ReneSola reported net revenues of US$306.5 million in the fourth quarter, up 40.5% from US$218.2 million despite a decrease in the ASPs of solar wafers and modules.
The company reported a gross profit of US$10.3 million compared to a gross loss of US$39.2 million in the third quarter of 2012.
For full-year 2012, the company reported a gross loss of US$35.7 million compared to a gross profit of US$96.1 million in 2011. However, ReneSola reported a net loss for the year of US$203.4 million
The gross profit margin for the fourth quarter was 3.3% compared to a gross margin of negative 18% in the third quarter. Full-year 2012 gross profit margin was negative 3.7% compared to gross margin of 9.7% in 2011. Operating loss for the fourth quarter 2012 was US$23.8 million.
The company expects 2013 total solar wafer and module shipments to be in the range of 2.7-2.9GW, with module shipments expected to be in the range of 1.4 to 1.6GW.