Longi Solar, the biggest PV company in the world – by market value and sales revenue – today announced it shipped 24.5 GW of panels last year, a remarkable 224% more than the 8.4 GW shifted a year earlier.
The fact sales revenue rose just 66%, year on year, on that much bigger shipment figure tells a tale of falling panel prices but still saw Longi generate RMB54.6 billion ($8.41 billion), for net profits of RMB8.55 billion ($1.32 billion), up 62% on 2019.
The weighted average return on net assets reported by the company was 25.9%, for a 2.84 percentage point advance from the previous year. Net cashflow from operating activities rose 35% to RMB11 billion ($1.69 million).
At year-end, monocrystalline solar manufacturer Longi had an annual production capacity of 85 GW for wafers, 30 GW for cells and 50 GW for panels. Those figures had all risen after the commissioning of projects including a 15 GW ingot and wafer fab at Yinchuan, 10 GW more ingot casting capacity at Longi's Tengchong factory, 10 GW of ingot and wafer facilities at its Qujing base, 7.5 GW of solar cell production capacity at its Xi’an factory, a 5 GW mono cell production project in Xi’an, and four 5 GW module manufacturing lines: at Taizhou, Xianyang, Chuzhou, and Jiaxing.
With Longi estimating its global share of the panel market rose 11 precentage points to 19% in 2020, the company also shipped 58.15 GW of wafers, 31.84 GW of them to external customers.
As demand for solar grew worldwide, Longi said 70% more of its revenue came from the overseas market, with the RMB21.5 billion generated from foreign buyers accounting for 39% of total revenues.
The company launched its first building-integrated PV rooftop product last year and invested RMB2.59 billion ($399 million) into R&D. Its development efforts saw it reduce the average non-silicon cost of ingot casting 9.98% and lower the average non-silicon cost of wafer cutting 10.82%.
Last year saw Longi sign co-operation agreements with major state-owned power companies China Huadian Corp, China Huaneng Group, China Datang Corp, and China Petrochemical Corporation. The business also made commitments in the fields of solar project development, green hydrogen production and industrial supply chain collaboration.
The manufacturer pledged to encourage employees to switch to electric vehicles within a decade and to reach 100% renewables-powered operations in future, during a year which saw it sign up for the RE100, EV100 and EP100 pledges set up by London-based environmental lobbying organization The Climate Group.
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Those climate and energy consumption commitments, however, appear unlikely to rein in further production capacity expansion, with Longi aiming to raise its figures for wafers, cells and solar panels, this year, to 105 GW, 38 GW and 65 GW, respectively.
The solar giant wants to ship 80 GW of wafers this year, and 40 GW of panels, to generate sales of RMB85 billion ($13 billion).
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