JinkoSolar planning up to 25% module capacity expansion in 2015

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Citing continued strong global growth and market share gains, major PV manufacturer, JinkoSolar said it was planning to expand module capacity in 2015 by 20% to 25%. 

In an earnings call to discuss third quarter results, JinkoSolar’s management said it provide full capacity expansion details with its fourth quarter and full-year 2013 conference call but guided global market demand was expected to increase by around 20% and that it was planning production expansion accordingly. 

Q3 2014 production update

JinkoSolar noted in the earnings call that in-house wafer capacity had increase by 300MW in the third quarter to 2.3GW. The company had previously guided wafer capacity would be expanded to 2.5GW by year-end. The company noted in its accompanying presentation slides that wafer capacity would reach its target of 2.5GW in the fourth quarter. 

Solar cell capacity, which had stood at 1.5GW at the end of 2013, was expanded to 1.8GW in the third quarter of 2014 and remains on track to reach its target of 2GW by year-end. 

PV module capacity has been the key expansion target in 2014, with previous guidance pushing capacity to 3GW by year-end. 

However, the company guided full-year 2014 PV module shipments to be in the range of 2.9GW and 3.2GW, with the high point of guidance ahead of capacity. 

During the earnings call, management noted that PV module capacity would end the year at 2.3GW, indicating JinkoSolar has added additional capacity than guided since announcing revised capacity plans for 2014, in March. 

2015 capacity plans

Based on JinkoSolar’s actual module production levels by year-end the planned capacity expansions given the guidance range for 2015, indicates the company is planning to increase module production by 640MW to 800MW, resulting in nameplate capacity at the high-end estimate reaching 4GW. 

Although management did not guide wafer and cell capacity expansion figures to retain end of 2014 production balance guidance, JinkoSolar could potentially be planning 600MW of new solar capacity, while retaining wafer capacity at its expanded level for 2014. 

This would give JinkoSolar a solar cell nameplate capacity of 2.8GW, which coupled to the planned module capacity growth, would keep capital expenditures inline with those in 2014. Wafer capacity expansions are the most capital intensive, followed by solar cell. 

Management also noted that it expected to ship around 400MW of modules to the US in 2014 and expected around a 30% increase in 2015. JinkoSolar noted that it expected US installations in 2015 to be around 7GW due to huge demand to complete utility-scale project pipeline before the cuts to the ITC and the end of 2016. 

Coupled to the demand and the US anti-dumping duties, JinkoSolar was still considering manufacturing opportunities in North America for next year, without providing further details. 

However, management also noted that its module assembly plant in South Africa was helping it build a global manufacturing footprint and that it was also considering manufacturing opportunities in other regions. 

Interestingly, based on full-year module shipment guidance and those of its nearest rivals, JinkoSolar could gain at least one ranking position in 2014, surpassing Canadian Solar for the fourth largest (by shipments) PV manufacturer and close in on third ranked Sharp Corporation. 

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