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Solar Makers Set for Record 2014 Sales on Strong Demand

--FILE--Chinese workers examine solar panels at a photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Rizhao city, east Chinas Shandong province, 5 July 2014. China is the worlds top energy consumer, with the vast majority of its electricity coming from domestically-mined coal. But the Asian nation is cutting its dependence on coal, oil and natural gas and replacing it with solar at a breakneck pace. Between January and the end of June, China added 3.3 gigawatts of solar capacity, double the additions over the same period last year, and equivalent to the entire solar capacity of Australia?one of the sunniest places on earth. That brings Chinas total solar power supply up to 23 gigawatts, second only to Germanys 36 GW, and just 13 GW shy of the countrys goal of having 35 GW of solar installed by 2015. The main reason, of course, is environmental. Choking clouds of pollution from vehicles and fossil-fueled power plants are the norm for residents of many Chinese cities, and the situation is only getting worse. Earlier this month, the Chinese government announced that it would ban the use of coal in Beijing by the end of 2020--although coal power use outside the capital is expected to continue. Close

--FILE--Chinese workers examine solar panels at a photovoltaic (PV) power plant in... Read More

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--FILE--Chinese workers examine solar panels at a photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Rizhao city, east Chinas Shandong province, 5 July 2014. China is the worlds top energy consumer, with the vast majority of its electricity coming from domestically-mined coal. But the Asian nation is cutting its dependence on coal, oil and natural gas and replacing it with solar at a breakneck pace. Between January and the end of June, China added 3.3 gigawatts of solar capacity, double the additions over the same period last year, and equivalent to the entire solar capacity of Australia?one of the sunniest places on earth. That brings Chinas total solar power supply up to 23 gigawatts, second only to Germanys 36 GW, and just 13 GW shy of the countrys goal of having 35 GW of solar installed by 2015. The main reason, of course, is environmental. Choking clouds of pollution from vehicles and fossil-fueled power plants are the norm for residents of many Chinese cities, and the situation is only getting worse. Earlier this month, the Chinese government announced that it would ban the use of coal in Beijing by the end of 2020--although coal power use outside the capital is expected to continue.

Solar manufacturers are set to ship a record number of panels this year, with the largest makers expected to deliver 52 percent more panels between them than 2013.

Hanwha SolarOne Co. saw “robust” volumes in the first half while maintaining its aim to sell as many as 1.6 gigawatts of panels this year, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Qidong, China-based company Nam Seong-Woo said yesterday on a call with analysts. To keep up with demand, it expects to complete its plant expansion by the end of the year.

Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL), First Solar Inc. (FSLR), JinkoSolar Holding Co., Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ), and JA Solar Holdings Co. all reported profits in the quarter. Only Hanwha and larger rival Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. cut its shipment forecasts for this year and reported losses. Solar companies are expanding as a supply glut that hurt margins is mopped up.

“Robust levels of global demand should continue to drive notable revenue growth” in the second half into 2015, Jeffrey Osborne, an analyst at Cowen & Co in New York, said in a research note on Trina Solar.

Global installations are expected to reach a record 52 gigawatts this year up from 40.3 gigawatts in 2013 on falling equipment and financing costs combined with stable incentives, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The top seven makers expect to account for about 20 gigawatts of that.

Demand

Markets including China, Japan and the U.S. will drive more than half of the growth this year, accounting for as much as 14 gigawatts, 11.9 gigawatts and 5.6 gigawatts respectively.

Even the parts of the industry that suffered most are recovering. Solarworld AG, Germany’s biggest solar-panel maker, shipped record modules in July and sees similar levels for this month, Chief Executive Officer Frank Asbeck said today. The company was the one major producer in Germany to survive a shakeout triggered by the inventory glut, which bankrupted dozens of German makers.

“Demand from both the China and overseas markets has picked up dramatically,” including the U.S., Trina Solar’s Chairman and CEO Gao Jifan said on a call with analysts following its earnings release.

Solar is largely driven by incentives in the U.S., Jim VanderPas, director of solar product and program development at ConEdison Solutions Inc., a developer of solar projects mainly in the country’s northeast and southeast, said yesterday in an interview.

Those incentives are fairly stable, he said. In the state of New Jersey, for example, “you’re going to see more growth than we’ve ever seen in the past next year.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ehren Goossens in New York at egoossens1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net Andrew Hobbs

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