JA Solar boosting solar cell capacity past 1GW in 2010: starting in-house ingot production

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Robust customer demand for solar cells and OEM modules from JA Solar means that the company cannot meet 2010 bookings without increasing capacity. The company is targeting an increase in nameplate cell capacity to 1.1GW in 2010, which will be primarily for its ‘high-efficiency-enabled’ cells, using selective emitter technology. OEM modules and ingot production will also ramp in 2010.

The new cell line is for monocrystalline cells, which the company has claimed in R&D have produced conversion efficiencies of 18.7%. The company will be in pilot production by midyear and enter volume production later in the year, after quality control stabilization and customer acceptance tests in the first-half of the year.

JA Solar said that it expects solar cell shipments to exceed 900MW for 2010, compared with prior guidance of between 750MW to 800MW.

Fourth-quarter shipments reached 231MW, above the upward revised guidance of 210MW. Shipments in the first quarter of 2010 are expected to be in the range of 215MW to 225MW.

“We are very pleased to report the highest shipment volumes in our company’s history,” said Dr. Peng Fang, CEO of JA Solar. “During 2009, JA Solar has focused its strategy on delivering excellent customer service, the highest product quality, and technology innovation, which has helped us win additional customers and increase market share,”

The company also noted that it had started OEM module production with plans to reach a capacity of 300MW by the end of 2010 to meet customer demand.

JA Solar is also adding in-house ingot production to its evolving integrated business model in an effort to reduce cell production costs. Executives at JA Solar noted in a conference call last week that it expected in-house ingot/wafer capacity to reach 120MW by the end of 2010.

The company has placed an order with GT Solar for DSS furnaces to start ingot production, which is expected to come online between 2Q10 and 3Q10. Executives noted in the call that it selected GT Solar furnaces due to its production proven technology and JA Solar’s low-risk approach to the ramping of in-house multicrystalline ingot/wafer production.

JA Solar also reported 2009 shipments at 509MW, an increase of 83.8% from 277MW in 2008. Total 2009 revenue was US$553.7 million, compared with US$799.6 million in 2008.

Capital spending is expected to be approximately US$130 million in 2010.

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