Canadian Solar in the hunt for no.1 2015 shipments

While much attention has been focused on the debt challenges facing Yingli, Canadian Solar has registered big entry into 2015. The company shipped well over 1 GW of modules in Q1 2015, and expects to back that up in Q2 with shipments between 950 MW and 1 GW.

“We current expect total Q2 shipment to be in the range of approximately 950 MW to 1000 MW, including 165 MW of shipments to our own utility-scale project,” said CEO Shaun Qu in the earnings call announcing the quarter’s results.

IHS analyst Jessica Jin notes that with such a strong start to the year, there is a distinct possibility that Canadian Solar might knock both Yingli and Trina off the number spot for module shipments in 2015.

“I think 2015 could be very interesting because as we look at the Q1 performance of the module manufacturers, in terms of shipments Canadian Solar is the top suppliy in Q1 2015,” Jin told pv magazine. “I don’t know whether Canadian Solar will surprise us by coming out number one in the rankings this year, but it did surprise us in Q1 2015.”

IHS’ Jin notes that helping Canadian Solar is the 500 MW production facility that it operates in Canada allows it to serve both U.S. and European markets tariff free.

In Q1 2015, the Americas sales region was the most important for Canadian, accounting for 48.7% of its net revenue. Europe represented 17.7% of sales revenue for the quarter.

“Canadian Solar is not a China based company, so compared to others it has fewer shipments to the domestic market,” said Jin. “Canadian has more shipments to the U.S., Japan and Europe.”

However, Canadian can’t afford to rest on its laurels. Rival Trina Solar, and ranked by many to currently hold the top module producer mantle, shipped 1.03 GW of modules in Q1 2015, in what it described as the strongest quarter in its history.

IHS’ Jessica Jin reports that leading module manufacturers are reporting very high utilization rates at present. Having completed its acquisition of developer Recurrent Energy from Sharp, Canadian is rapidly moving towards launching a solar yieldco for its downstream projects.