JinkoSolar eyes tech progress as firm cements module leadership position for Q3

The third quarter (Q3) financial results from JinkoSolar were largely unsurprising, confirming that the Chinese Tier-1 solar firm will head – as expected – into 2018 as the largest supplier of modules globally.

Rather than dwell on a 19% sequential contraction of revenues (down to $964.8 million in Q3) due to a 17.7% drop in module shipments (which fell from 2,884 MW in Q2 to 2,374 MW in Q3), JinkoSolar’s CEO Kangping Chen was instead eager to talk about the firm’s technological progress.

As stressed earlier this year in an interview with pv magazine, JinkoSolar is ramping up its half-cut cell production series, and is also pouring vast amounts of investment and energy into developing bifacial n-type cells and optimizing its mono wafer costs via diamond wire manufacturing techniques.

“We will continue to allocate resources towards innovating new and exciting solar technologies to strengthen our leading position in the market,” Chen said, hinting that JinkoSolar’s devotion to developing new technology will take priority over market expansion in the short term.

Despite the expected quarter-over-quarter contraction, this year’s Q3 figures were vastly healthier than last year’s. Revenue was 20.4% higher and module shipments 47.8% higher. The company was also able to increase its gross margin slightly – from 10.5% in Q2 to 12% in Q3 – having scaled back its use of OEM manufacturers and initiated a series of cost-cutting measures.

Gross profit, however, was a little skinnier for the quarter, down to $116.1 million on the back of tumbling module average selling prices (ASPs) – balanced out by a fall in shipping costs.

On the market front, the CEO said that JinkoSolar will continue to monitor events in the U.S. closely, stressing that whatever the outcome of the Section 201 case the company “strongly believes in the U.S. market’s long-term growth trajectory”. Effusive words also came the way of India, Europe, Latin America and the MENA region.

On the capacity front, JinkoSolar ended the quarter with production capacities of 7 GW, 4.5 GW and 8 GW for wafer, cells and modules respectively. In Q4, the company is forecasting module shipments of between 2.3 GW to 2.5 GW, and is poised to end the year having shipped between 9.6 GW and 9.8 GW – approximately 10% of the global market share.