China’s Yingli Solar – likely to have been the world’s largest supplier of PV modules last year – says that its fourth-quarter shipments were up 40% sequentially, becoming the second major Chinese player this week to offer a rosy preliminary glimpse of its end-of-year performance.
The 40% jump on third-quarter shipments was “significantly higher” than its previous guidance of a “low teens” increase, and means the company’s full-year shipments hit 2.3GW, as surging Chinese demand boosts domestic champions. That puts it ahead of 2011 global number-one Suntech with about 1.8GW last year.
Earlier this week, Yingli's rival JA Solar said its fourth-quarter shipments had reached 480MW-500MW, far exceeding its prior guidance of 380MW-420MW, and leaving it with a full-year performance of 1.68GW-1.7GW.
To date, Yingli has been a key beneficiary of China’s Golden Sun subsidy programme. Led by chief executive Liansheng Miao, the company boasts an integrated production capacity of 2.45GW.
Yingli expects a fourth-quarter gross margin of negative 8%-8.5%, due to inventory write-down and the depreciation of underutilised production capacity. However, that is a large improvement on the negative 22.7% margin the company reported in the third quarter of 2012.
Yingli is due to report its full-year 2012 results on 4 March.