The sun is still shining on poly makers but solar developers struggling in China


With the annual reporting season under way in Hong Kong, the first numbers published for 2021 have illustrated the contrasting fortunes afflicting Chinese companies in the global solar supply chain.

Polysilicon maker and renewables developer Xinte Energy has published annual figures illustrating why it is trying to ramp its annual poly production capacity from 66,000 tons – at the end of December – to 400,000.

The business on Friday said solar panel raw material polysilicon had contributed RMB11.6 billion (US$1.82 billion) to its total revenue of RMB22.5 billion (US$3.53 billion) last year, thanks to rising prices, even if more costly silicon powder, tricholorosilane gas, and electricity added RMB1.07 billion (US$168 million) to its annual bill.


The poly operation generated RMB5.11 billion (US$803 million) of net profit for the TBEA-owned business last year, more than the final, RMB4.96 billion (US$779 million) total net-profit-for-shareholders number reported by Xinte, after costs higher up the company were removed. Xinte posted total net profits to the owners of just RMB635 million (US$99.7 million) from 2020.

The manufacturer said its Xinjiang operation – which is liable to be affected by the US’ import ban – is set to be upgraded to 100,000 tons of annual capacity by the end of June and it expects poly production from its new, RMB8.8 billion (US$1.38 billion), 100,000-ton Inner Mongolia fab this year.

The company is planning a further, RMB17.6 billion, 200,000-ton facility in Zhundong, with half the cost to be funded by a shares issue announced this month.


Xinte said it produced 78,200 tons of poly last year and hopes to churn out 110-120,000 tons this year, as well as developing 2-2.5GW of solar and wind project generation capacity and having 2.5-3GW of such facilities under management.

The clean energy project development business generated revenue and net profits of RMB9.73 billion (US$1.53 billion) and RMB 286 million (US$44.9 million), respectively, last year, Xinte said. Its renewable project management operation posted respective figures of RMB1.87 billion (US$294 million) and RMB796 million (US$125 million).

By contrast, state-owned solar developer China Shuifa Singyes Energy Holdings published annual results showing it turned away from solar in favor of wind projects last year, because of rising PV system costs.

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The development of solar projects generated revenue of RMB357 million (US$56 million) last year, compared to RMB1.19 billion (US$187 million) in 2020, and generated a gross profit of just RMB8.2 million (US$1.29 million), Shuifa Singyes reported on Thursday. Wind project development, however, generated RMB3.08 billion (US$484 million) of the company’s total 2021 revenue of RMB6.5 billion (US$1.02 billion).

While total revenue rose, profit for shareholders fell from RMB311 million (US$48.8 million), in 2020, to RMB221 million (US$34.7 million) thanks to a one-off gain of RMB209 million (US$32.8 million) in the earlier year from the repurchase of senior notes.

Shuifa Singyes’ end-of-year cash balance fell from RMB903 million (US$142 million) to RMB659 million (US$103 million) and the developer has RMB6.13 billion (US$963 million) of liabilities due within a year, including RMB1.55 billion ($243 million) worth of notes, and RMB824 million (US$129 million) of borrowings.


The company, which is recommending a dividend of HK$0.02 (US$0.003) per share, said it had a solar project portfolio of 589MW of generation capacity at the end of December, plus 43MW awaiting grid connection.

Fellow developer Shunfeng International Clean Energy has already said it will be unable to publish its 2021 figures by Thursday's deadline, because of China's Covid-19 outbreak, but has warned shareholders it anticipates the RMB502 million (US$78.8 million) loss it posted in 2020 will have risen to RMB750 million (US$118 million) once the accountants have crunched last year's numbers.


Shunfeng said that was down to it having lost RMB375 million on the book value of PV projects it sold last year, compared to a RMB332 million (US$52.1 million) reverse a year earlier, plus the fact last year did not see it book revenues from any such sale-listed projects, unlike it had in 2020.

The earlier year’s figures had also been buffed when RMB123 million (US$19.3 million) of engineering, procurement and construction fees owed by Shunfeng was waived, the developer said on Friday, adding it had benefited from no such creditor generosity last year.

The company added, the losses were partly offset by the fact the hit it took on finance costs fell last year, to RMB593 million (US$93.1 million), from a RMB777 million (US$122 million) reverse a year earlier.

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