JinkoSolar acknowledges US shipment issues as it upgrades module capacity forecast, eyes n-type expansion

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Robot assembly at one of JinkoSolar’s production facilities. Image: JinkoSolar

Leading ‘Solar Module Super League’ manufacturer JinkoSolar has said it is addressing the reliability of shipments to the US market, while also upgrading its module capacity forecast for this year and teasing an expansion of n-type cell capacity.

Reporting its Q2 2021 results today, Jinko chairman and chief executive officer Xiande Li said the company was undergoing various initiatives to strengthen its long-term business prospects and “increase the reliability of our services to the US market”, an apparent nod to issues the SMSL manufacturer has purportedly faced in shipping to the US from its Malaysian fab.

ROTH Capital has previously reported that shipments from JinkoSolar’s facility in Malaysia have been seized by US Customs and Border Protection in connection with the withhold release order issued by the US Department of Commerce prohibiting the import of silicon products linked to polysilicon provider Hoshine Silicon Industry and its subsidiaries, reports which have been corroborated elsewhere.

Multiple gigawatts of shipments bound for the US market are said to have been implicated.

Among the initiatives undertaken by Jinko to address the issue, Li noted the company had formed a number of strategic co-operations with other upstream solar manufacturers such as Tongwei and Xinte, and had also penned a five-year polysilicon supply deal with Wacker Chemie, which has poly production facilities in both the US and Germany.

Jinko further stated that its wafering facility outside of China had started construction last month, the output from which will service other production facilities in Malaysia and the US as soon as production ramps.

Traceability systems for both material procurement and production had also been improved, Li said.

Shipments down sequentially as Jinko recalibrates output

Jinko said it shipped 5.2GW of solar products in Q2 2021, consisting of 3.97GW of solar modules and 1.22GW of cells and wafers. The company noted it had adjusted its sales and production balance in response to spiking polysilicon prices, reducing its solar module production volume while simultaneously increasing sales of silicon wafers as pricing remained high.

While total shipments were up 16.4% year-on-year, they fell 2.8% sequentially, indicating the fluctuating demand for products in the second quarter.

However Jinko has noted that end market demand for modules was “gradually resuming”, and the company had “increased remarkably” its module production volume month-over-month throughout the third quarter, however no specific figure on utilisation rates was provided.

Total revenues for the second quarter stood at RMB7.93 billion (US$1.2 billion), with gross profit standing at RMB1.36 billion (US$210.5 million). Both figures were down year-on-year.

The manufacturer’s gross margin for the quarter was 17.1%, the same figure recorded in the opening quarter of the year.

Q3 2021 shipments are forecasted to be in the range of 5 – 5.5GW, 4.5 – 5GW of which is suggested to be solar modules), with total revenue for the quarter expected to fall in the range of US$1.24 – 1.37 billion. Gross margin for the quarter is expected to be between 12 – 15%, down on the ~17% margin recorded so far this year.

JinkoSolar is forecasting for full-year shipments of solar modules, cells and wafers to be in the range of 25 – 30GW, however no specific split between the product types was provided. This guidance is reaffirmed from the figure provided at the start of the financial year.

Capacity expansion plans – cut after Q1 – upgraded again

JinkoSolar has, however, readdressed its capacity expansion plans for the year just one quarter after previously scaling them back.

During its 2020 full year results disclosure JinkoSolar said it expected to finish 2021 with solar wafer, cell and module production capacities of 33GW, 27GW and 37GW respectively. At the firm’s Q1 2021 results disclosure in June this was scaled back to 30GW, 24GW and 32GW, but Jinko has now stated its expected end-of-year capacities will be scaled back up, with a significant increase in module capacity now expected.

JinkoSolar expects to finish 2021 with solar wafer, cell and module capacity of 32.5GW, 24GW and 45GW respectively.

Of its cell capacity as of 30 June 2021 of 12GW, Jinko said 940MW was n-type. However this is expected to expand in the year ahead, with Jinko stating it was expanding its investment plan for n-type cell capacity based on the company’s “technical advantages” and two years of experience in n-type mass production.

No specific figure for n-type capacity expansion was provided.

At SNEC 2021 earlier this year PV Tech spoke exclusively to Xinyu Zhang, R&D director at JinkoSolar, about the manufacturer’s forays into n-type technologies.

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