Canadian Solar to increase capacity; sees significant sales increases

Under the plans, the company has said it will increase its ingots and wafer nameplate capacity to 400 megawatts (MW), including 100 MWs of 6" mono-crystalline wafer capacity. Additonally, it is looking to boost cell capacity by 500 MW to 1,300 MW, of which 300 MW will be capable for metal wrap-through and 200 MW capable for enhanced selective emitter technology.

It added that it is on track to complete construction of its new cell facility early next year, with new cell lines ramping up in the second quarter.

In terms of key strategies for next year, Canadian Solar chairman and CEO Shawn Qu stated that the company is looking to lower costs, increase production capacity and further product differentiation and branding efforts.

He went on to say that the company hopes to reach a wafer to module processing cost of $0.50 to $0.55 per watt by this December. "Our processing cost for enhanced selective emitter cells declined to $0.20 per watt in September," he explained, "with conversion efficiencies of up to18.7 percent.

"Next year, we expect to have a larger downstream footprint in the systems business, both in Ontario and Japan, which should contribute to our business operations and enhance our brand recognition. Also, we expect to have an increasing volume and variety of premium module products, such as the New Edge and higher power output products, which should help support prices and permit us to gain market share."

Significant shipments

In terms of the company’s third quarter financial results, its shipments stood out at 200.4 MW, which shows an increase on both the second quarter of this year (181.2 MW), and the third quarter of last year (102.6 MW). Although the company says its sales came from the key solar industry markets worldwide, it noted that sales significantly increased in the Asia Pacific region and North America. It added that third quarter sales also included 7.5 MW sold as solar system kits.

For the fourth quarter, Canadian Solar expect shipments of approximately 220 MW to 230 MW, with gross margins in the range of 17 percent to 18 percent. For the full year 2011, it expects shipments to be approximately 1,200 MW to 1,300 MW.

Net revenue progress was also positive, with the company reaching $377.2 million, compared to $328.7 million for the second quarter, and $213.1 million for the third quarter of 2009.

Net income, on the other hand, reached $20.3 million in the third quarter. This is an improvement on the second quarter, which netted just $3.2 million, but represents a decrease on the previous year’s third quarter, which achieved $25.3 million.

Qu continued: "This was a strong quarter for us, marked with shipment volumes at the high end of expectations and a better-than-expected gross margin. The increase in 3Q10 revenues compared to 2Q10 was driven by strong demand in all our key markets, including Europe, Asia Pacific and North America, strong selling prices, revenues from solar systems sales and higher prices from our premium product sales.

"Our results also benefited from operational improvements. Our internal cell production contributed 130 MW, above our expected 127 MW, along with the contribution of 37 MW of internally produced wafers, which was in line with our expectations. Average non-silicon processing costs declined modestly in September. Silicon raw materials prices appear to have peaked in September and October and are now beginning to stabilize, while the prices of most other raw materials have been and remain stable."