H1 Revenues and Growth Powered By Global Expansion For Chinese Solar Majors

Highlights :

  • The solar sector, which delivered a supply shock and unprecedented price volatility till two years back, has recovered strongly to deliver record profits to Chinese majors.
  • The top firms across categories have never been stronger financially, and well poised to maintain dominance for the coming decade barring trade barriers in some markets.
H1 Revenues and Growth Powered By Global Expansion For Chinese Solar Majors H1 Revenues and Growth Powered By Global Expansion For Chinese Solar Majors

While protectionist moves in key global markets might be a factor in a couple of years or earlier, for now, Chinese solar manufacturers offering critical solar equipment are enjoying their day in the sun. Key players are all delivering record numbers, thanks to capacity increases and steady prices.

H1 figures coming from firms across the supply chain based in China, from Longi in Modules, to Solis (Ginlong Solis) inverters, to JA Solar and cell manufacturer Maxwell, the story is about strong global growth underpinning a steady domestic market.

Solis Delivers Scorching Growth, Again

Leading the growth pack is Chinese solar PV inverter major Ginlong Technologies, that ended H1/2023 with 387,700 inverter units sold. That translated to total operating income of RMB 3.25 billion ($446 million) for the period, with inverters contributing RMB 2.23 billion ($305.7 million)    

With a 68.56% of the group’s operating income, the inverter business delivered gross margins of 29.52%.  

Household PV power generation systems brought in 17.09% of revenues at RMB 555.6 million ($76.23 million), while energy storage inverters delivered  the remaining 9.59% at RMB 312 million ($42.1 million).    

Net profit YoY went up by 57.51% YoY to RMB 627 million ($86 million).   

Ginlong, known in most global markets for its Solis brand name, had cumulative annual inverter production capacity of 770,000 units with an actual output of 448,100 units by June. It has another 950,000 units/year of capacity under construction. That will take total inverter capacity to 1.72 million units/year by early 2024.   

The firm has set a target to cross the $1.1 billion in revenues and RMB 1.2 billion or $164.6 million in profits for the full year in  2023.  It expects to increase revenues by 50% by 2025, indicating bullishness about its prospects.


Longi Delivers Stellar Numbers

The biggest Chinese solar player in the business, and the world’s largest solar manufacturer, Longi Solar also made hay while the sun shines, on the solar business. The firm is well placed for the future after a strong H1. LONGi’s solar wafer shipments in H1/2023 expanded by more than 31% YoY to 52.05 GW, while cell shipments reached 31.5 GW with 3.28 GW sold externally. The biggest business, Modules, saw  shipments grow 48% YoY .

Those strong shipment numbers mean that operating income grew by 28.36% to RMB 64.65 billion ($8.87 billion); LONGi expects to exceed RMB 160 billion in revenues in 2023, pointing to a very strong H2. This is on the back of a strong order book and continuing demand the firm tracks. Net profits jumped over 40% to reach $1.26 billion.   

Longi expanded its operational capacity in H1 significantly with the commissioning of a 46 GW monocrystalline silicon ingot wafer fab in Lijiang (phase III), along with 10 GW annual ingot and 3.35 GW cell facility in Vietnam.  At the end of 2022, LONGi’s total production capacity of monocrystalline silicon wafers, cells and modules reached 133 GW, 50 GW and 85 GW, respectively. By the end of 2023, it aims to expand the same to 190 GW, 110 GW and 130 GW in modules, wafers and cells respectively.


Trina Solar’s Strong Recovery Continues

Trina Solar, another global player from China that was struggling not too long ago in 2020, continues its impressive recovery and surge. It shipped  27 GW modules in H1 2023, celebrating cumulative module shipment landmark  of over 150 GW in the period. Trina reported RMB 49.38 billion ($6.77 billion, total $7.13 billion) in operating income for the period, reflecting an increase of 38.21% YoY with net profit growing around 179% to RMB 3.54 billion ($485 million).  

Trina has been pushing its high efficiency vertex 210 modules as the ‘golden size’ of 210R for modules.  It has achieved considerable success here, with the share of these going up continuously in the portfolio. Over 75 GW have been shipped till June end. With its diversified offerings including trackers, growth has come from across the world. it recently announced a massive 15.5 integrated  cell manufacturing in Vietnam, a first, besides a tracker making facility in Brazil.  

By the end of 2023, Trina aims to grow its solar wafer production capacity to 50 GW. For solar cells, the target is 75 GW, out of which the share of n-type i-TOPCon will be 40 GW, while solar module capacity will grow to 95 GW.

Maxwell Rides On the Domination Of Chinese Solar Players

China’s dominance in solar equipment is not limited, it also covers manufacturing equipment now. Benefiting from the success of its domestic peers, as well as global push to manufacture, solar manufacturing equipment makers like Maxwell are reaping record numbers too. From Chinese solar players to foreign majors like Reliance Industries,  order books are full to 2024 and beyond for Maxwell.

Called Suzhou Maxwell Technology, the Chinese solar cell equipment supplier, has reported an annual operating income of RMB 2.869 billion ($393 million), up 62.98%, led by sales in the PV cell segment, during the period between January 2023 and June 2023.

While the domestic China market remained the mainstay with an 82.87% share of revenues, overseas sales accounted for the rest. A notable order was in April 2022, when Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) placed an order for 4.8 GW heterojunction (HJT) cell equipment. 

These numbers from just 4 firms underscores the strong financial position of Chinese solar majors, as they prepare for a period of high growth that will position them well to weather any future shocks. Others like Jinko Solar (modules), JA Solar (Modules), Sungrow (in inverters) Rizen (modules), Arctech (trackers)  and many more have also reported or indicated strong results, besides winning large orders globally as well. In fact, so strong has the solar sector been that it has attracted many newcomers to the market in China, leading to fears of a glut in the times to come.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International