Employees produce photovoltaic cells at a workshop of Jinko Solar Holding Co Ltd, in Hefei Circular Economy Demonstration Park, Anhui province, in January, 2022. (RUAN XUEFENG/FOR CHINA DAILY)
Thanks to rising market demand and lower prices for upstream silicon materials, leading photovoltaic companies are anticipating a doubling of their net profits in the first half, with an increased contribution from exports.
Jinko Solar Co, a major domestic PV company, recently revealed its half-year performance forecast and projected its net profits to soar at least threefold year-on-year to reach 3.66 billion yuan ($512.4 million) or more.
The company attributed the surge to strong global demand for PV facilities and its efforts in coping with price fluctuations, exchange rates and international trade policies.
JA Solar Technology Co Ltd, also a major PV company, estimated its half-year profit to reach at least 4.2 billion yuan or a minimum growth of 146.8 percent year-on-year.
JA Solar said the surge was driven by the continuous upswing in PV product demand, domestic and international market expansion, considerable increases in shipments and revenue, and optimizations in supply chain management that led to reduced production costs.
Statistics from news outlet Jiemian showed that among the 17 PV domestic companies that released their half-year forecasts, 16 have witnessed profit growth and only one silicon wafer company experienced a year-on-year decline.
PV facility company Eging PV Technology Co Ltd leads the pack with its net profit soaring at least 1,086 percent to exceed 280 million yuan. The company said in a statement that the drop in silicon material prices led to the profit growth of cells and modules.
The flourishing PV industry has also fostered growth in related sectors. Solar mounting gear producer Clenergy reported an estimated 251.59 percent to 321.91 percent year-on-year growth in its first-half profit to reach 100 million yuan to 120 million yuan. The company attributed the growth largely to rising revenue from overseas.
In recent years, the PV industry has experienced rapid growth, fueled by favorable policies and growing market demand. By the end of June, China's solar power capacity reached approximately 470.67 million kilowatts, a year-on-year increase of 39.8 percent, said the National Energy Administration.
The China Photovoltaic Industry Association forecast on Thursday a further 120-140 gigawatt growth in installed capacity this year, a record high.
According to the association, the export value of China's PV products surpassed $29 billion in the first half, an increase of 13 percent year-on-year. Wang Bohua, honorary chairman of the CPIA, said silicon wafers and solar cells have seen an increasing proportion in total exports.
China holds a dominant position in the global PV supply chain, accounting for more than 75 percent of its total, said Jiang Yali, an analyst with energy research provider BloombergNEF.
"Increasing orders from home and abroad have contributed to the profit growth, mostly for the downstream PV facility manufacturers, who also enjoyed a production cost reduction due to declining silicon prices. However, material providers in the upstream have undergone a rough time," said Lin Boqiang, head of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University.
According to the Silicon Industry of China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, the price of silicon materials ranged between 63,000 yuan and 82,000 yuan per metric ton last week, a significant decline from an average of 240,000 yuan per ton in early February.
PV consultancy InfoLink Consulting said recently that the price of silicon materials has slumped to the "bottom line" and even fallen below the break-even point for some providers.
According to Industrial Securities, buoyed by growing domestic and overseas demand, the PV industry's boom is likely to continue into the second half of this year.