Canadian Solar adding 3GW of module capacity in 2020 despite lack of demand

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Canadian Solar plans to increase module assembly capacity by 3GW in 2020, giving the company a total nameplate capacity of 16GW, while shipments were guided between a range of 10GW to 12GW for the year. Image: Canadian Solar

‘Solar Module Super League (SMSL) member, Canadian Solar plans to increase module assembly capacity by 3GW in 2020, giving the company a total nameplate capacity of 16GW, while shipments were guided between a range of 10GW to 12GW for the year. 

The SMSL, known for quarter-on-quarter capacity tweaking, added approximately 820MW of global module assembly capacity in 2019 that was above previous guidance. As a result, module assembly capacity in 2019 reached approximately 13GW. 

Canadian Solar also ended 2019 with 9.6GW of solar cell capacity, a 300MW uptick from previous guidance of 9.3GW of capacity planned for year end. The company plans to add 500MW of solar cell capacity in 2020, taking nameplate capacity to 10.1GW. 

Wafer capacity expansions have not been on the cards since 2018 and so the latest guidance is no new wafer capacity expansions in 2020, leaving capacity at 5GW. 

However, the SMSL added 200MW of ingot production in 2019, taking capacity to 1,650MW, while plans for 2020 are to expand slightly to 2,350MW.  The company did not highlight whether the ingot production expansions related to cast-mono (multi), p-type mono or n-type mono production.

The company rarely details capacity expansions on a geographical basis but has major manufacturing operations in China and much smaller operations in South East Asia, as well a OEM contracted production in Vietnam and Brazil. 

Canadian Solar did not provide any explanation as to why the module assembly capacity expansions were required in 2020, given that module assembly capacity in 2019 reached approximately 13GW and able to meet the high-end of shipment guidance for 2020 of 12GW. 

Canadian Solar did not provide any explanation as to why the module assembly capacity expansions were required in 2020, given that module assembly capacity in 2019 reached approximately 13GW and able to meet the high-end of shipment guidance for 2020 of 12GW.

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