In the fourth quarter of 2018, JinkoSolar broke its own record for quarterly module shipments, sending out 3.6 GW, a 22.5% increase on the previous quarter.
This closed out a year where the manufacturer shipped a total of 11.4 GW of modules — including 209 MW shipped to its own downstream projects — a 16% increase over the 9.8 GW shipped in 2017.
Despite the increase in shipments, Jinko’s revenue for the full year fell by 5.4%, coming in at $3.64 billion — a sign of the times in a year where module prices fell by around 30%. Jinko says that its global reach was key to weathering the storm caused by China’s 31/5 policy shift.
“While the Chinese market was impacted by the policies released on May 31, we were able to continue growing through our diversified global distribution network and further consolidate our leading position in terms of market share,” commented JinkoSolar CEO Kangping Chen.
And the company expects to almost double its shipment growth this year. It has posted guidance for first quarter shipments in 2019 to fall slightly over the previous quarter to between 2.8 and 3 GW, but full-year shipments are forecast at 14 to 15 GW, which would represent around a 30% increase over 2018’s full-year figure.
Behind this prediction is a belief that growth will return to China in 2019, as the country shifts its policy from feed-in tariffs to a bidding system for utility-scale projects, and finds a solution to the problem of delayed payments. “The new policies set a clear direction for the country’s solar plans and will help to greatly improve sentiment for the solar sector as the country tries to smoothly transition towards grid parity and encourage a more market-driven environment,” continued Chen. “Based on the new policies, we believe domestic installations in 2019 will exceed last year. Distributed generation projects and projects completed at grid parity will continue to make up a larger portion of overall installations.”
Elsewhere, JinkoSolar has high expectations for the U.S. market this year, and says that its new factory in Jacksonville, Florida, will reach its full production capacity in the second quarter. And with the minimum import price gone and forgotten, Europe will again be a key target for Jinko’s products.
On the technology side, Jinko says it will expand its monocrystalline wafer production this year and continue to reduce its manufacturing costs at this level through optimizing its use of large-scale crystalline furnaces and reducing diamond wire consumption in cutting. The company is also planning to convert its existing non-PERC capacity to produce PERC products this year, alongside significant capacity expansions.
At the end of 2018, the company’s production capacity stood at 9.7 GW for silicon wafers, 7 GW for cells and 10.8 GW for modules. By the end of 2019, it says it expects these to reach 15 GW for wafers, 11 GW of which would be monocrystalline, 10 GW for cells, 9.2 GW of which will be PERC, and 15 GW of total module capacity.