Solar Manufacturers Doing More Business In-House

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More and more, the top solar PV module suppliers are expanding their numbers by shipping to subsidiary businesses tasked with PV systems deployment.

This is especially the case for the top 20 solar PV suppliers in the industry, including Chinese heavyweights such as Trina Solar, Yingli Green Energy, Jinko Solar, and JA Solar. They join industry staples First Solar, SunPower, and Canadian Solar in making internal projects a new financial priority.

The news comes via the latest NPD Solarbuzz Module Tracker Report, which finds that 17 out of the top 20 solar manufacturers now have dedicated businesses or subsidiaries tasked with PV systems deployment. And it makes sense, especially for major Chinese manufacturers, who not only had to find new markets after European and US trade sanctions, but also want to meet the escalating demand for solar at home.

“During Q3’14, the top 20 solar PV module suppliers, which have approximately two-thirds of global demand, shipped almost 8 GW of modules,” according to Ray Lian, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “This quarterly shipment volume marks yet another record for the top 20 supplier group, despite increased shipment levels now for in-house projects.”

2014 Annual Shipment Guidance for Leading Chinese Solar PV Suppliers

at home

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The NPD Solarbuzz press release highlights the way in which “revenues from downstream business activities” have helped companies navigate “the industry downturn, when margins from pure-play manufacturing were negatively impacted due to rapidly declining module prices.”

“Having a strong presence in downstream project development also allows companies to benefit from favorable solar PV incentives available in domestic and international markets,” added Lian. “Similar to dedicated project developers, this allows the option to hold projects, spin-off the assets into a yield company, or simply sell the projects upon completion to institutional investors.”

Lian concludes by adding that “Approximately 1.8 GW of modules are expected to be shipped this year for internal projects activities by just four companies: Trina Solar, Yingli Green Energy, Jinko Solar, and JA Solar. While this will result in delays in recognizing revenues for this portion of module shipments, expansion into downstream projects business is expected to offer added value and incremental revenue streams in the coming years.”

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Joshua S Hill

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