Kristina Shih, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei [Monday 7 January 2013]
Due to fluctuating demand in Europe, China-based solar module firms Yingli, Suntech and Trina Solar saw shipments in third-quarter 2012 decrease by 16.9%, 10%, and 9% respectively. Jinko Solar, on the other hand, benefitted from domestic demand, and saw total shipments increase by 20% in the same period. Yingli's accumulated shipments in the first three quarters of 2012 reached 1.55GW and expects total shipments in 2012 to exceed 2GW, representing growth compared to 2011.
Due to the punitive tariff set by the US and loss of inventory value, net losses continued to plague China-based large-size solar firms in third-quarter 2012. According to Digitimes Research, the debt that major solar firms such as Yingli, Suntech, Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, LDK and Jinko Solar had accumulated as of third-quarter 2012 totaled US$17.5 billion. In particular, the debt ratios of LDK and Suntech both exceeded 80%. Despite having government support, it is difficult to turn the situation around quickly.
China's solar supply chain has been suffereing from market imbalance and the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations by the US and Europe. Therefore, China's government has been eager to promote domestic demand through its 12th Five-Year Plan, with programs such as a feed-in-tariff (FIT) of CNY5.5/kWh (US$0.88/kWh) and an installation target of 35GW before 2015. In the future, the government also plans to promote solar PV system demonstration projects in various regions and solve grid connection problems.