Climate Action

Solar companies back in profit as demand in China helps ease oversupply

Yingli, JinkoSolar, Trina Solar and JA Solar expecting big year for solar industry with increased demand delivering timely boost for margins

  • 20 March 2014
  • William Brittlebank

The solar industry is experiencing a much needed boom with manufacturers returning to profit as demand in China ends a supply glut that hammered profits over the last two years.

Yingli Green Energy Holdings, one of world's largest solar-panel makers, said that it expects to be profitable in the third quarter of 2014 while JinkoSolar Holding Co, Trina Solar Ltd and JA Solar Holdings Co have led investors to expect increased income and higher shipments in 2014.

The climbing demand for solar applications is countering a global oversupply that erased profits across the industry and led to more than a dozen companies being bankrupted.

China, which surpassed Germany to become the biggest solar market last year, may install more than 14 gigawatts this year, aiding domestic producers and they added a record 12 gigawatts of solar power in 2013, compared with 3.6 gigawatts a year ago, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Yingli’s shipments increased by an impressive 41 per cent in 2013 to 3.2 gigawatts, and the company said that may grow as much as 31 per cent this year. Chief Financial Officer Wang Yiyu said the company should break even in the second quarter of 2014 and be profitable in the third.

According to industry analysts, Yingli chose to gain market share at the expense of short term profits and it will eventually catch up.

JA Solar posted its first profit since the first quarter of 2011. Shipments for the year increased 22 per cent to 2.1 gigawatts, and could reach 2.9 gigawatts this year according to company estimates.

JinkoSolar became the first Chinese solar manufacturer to shift back to profits, in the second quarter of last year. The company reported net income of 164.3 million yuan in the fourth quarter and is expanding production capacity.