Jinko buys 500MW of cell capacity

JinkoSolar will buy Zhejiang Topoint Photovoltaic Co., a bankrupt lower-tier Chinese PV manufacturer, in a further sign of the powerful consolidation process underway in China’s solar industry.

The deal includes 500MW of production capacity for wafers and cells and 100MW for modules – a significant contribution to Jinko, which started 2013 with 1.2GW of ingot-to-module capacity.

Jinko, which describes Topoint’s assets as “technologically advanced and recently purchased”, claims it will have about 2GW-2.1GW of vertically-integrated production capacity after the deal goes through.

Jinko will begin operating Topoint’s plants from today, with the intention of eventually absorbing them into its organisation.

Jinko is the second major Chinese PV manufacturer to publicly acquire sizeable production assets from a lower-tier domestic rival in as many months, following Trina Solar, which in November bought what will become a 500MW module plant from Changzhou NESL Solartech.

While the language in Jinko’s announcement suggests the Topoint acquisition is completely voluntary, there is significant political pressure on China’s PV manufacturing sector to consolidate – including the swallowing of unsuccessful but jobs-heavy lower-tier players by more successful tier-one companies.

Topoint’s research centre and production plant are based in Hainang, Zhejiang province, putting them in close proximity to some of Jinko’s own facilities.

Jinko says it was “invited” by the bankruptcy administrator and the Hainang City government to “participate” in Topoint’s reorganisation.

“As the industry continues to consolidate,” says Jinko chief executive Kangping Chen, “we expect dominant PV industry players to continue to acquire the high-quality assets of companies exiting the industry.”

Beijing recently published a shorter version of its list of PV companies that remain eligible for ongoing policy support, a list which includes Jinko but not Topoint.