China’s GD Solar retires 640 MW manufacturing capacity

GD Solar Co. Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Guodian Technology & Environment Group Corporation Limited, one of China’s five largest energy producers, has said it will stop production of 180 MW crystalline silicon cells, 400 MW of modules and 60 MW of thin film cells.

In a filing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company said it has faced operational and financial challenges, including low utilization rates on its production lines, high production costs and market expansion difficulties.

GD Solar did say, however, it would continue research and development of high efficiency solar cells and gallium arsenide solar cells, and is actively looking for investment to support its work in this area.

Although Guodian did not disclose the amount, it said it expects to incur a "significant" impairment as a result of GD Solar’s manufacturing shutdown, which will see its 2015 profits tumble. A professional asset appraiser has been appointed.

In 2013, GD Solar was ranked by IHS as the third largest EPC player globally based on installed capacity, behind First Solar and TBEA SunOasis. In the same year, it completed projects in China with a capacity of 715 MW, up from 470 MW in 2012. Last August, IHS reported the company had moved down to fifth place. IHS’ Ash Sharma told pv magazine today that it is expected to be ranked in 12th place in 2015.

Headquartered in Jiangsu, the company was established in 2010 and, as of 2013, had a reported workforce of 5,000. No details were available on how many jobs would be lost following yesterday’s announcement, and no mention was made regarding the company’s wafer manufacturing.