Total solar module shipments at JinkoSolar Holding Co Ltd (NYSE:JKS) rose 47.3% year-on-year in 2017 to 9,807 MW and the company said it expects to ship between 11.5 GW and 12 GW in 2018.
The Chinese solar manufacturer, however, saw its gross margin fall to 11.3% last year from 18.1% in 2016, impacted by a decline in the average selling price of solar modules, higher polysilicon prices and increased production by OEM partners to meet demand, especially in the first half of 2017. According to chief executive Kangping Chen there is scope for improvement in 2018.
"We believe our gross margin and bottom line have ample room for improvement in 2018 as a result of the decrease in raw material costs, our reduced use of OEM, and enhanced cost structure supported by technology and supply chain management initiatives," the CEO said.
Net profit from continuing operations attributable to ordinary shareholders dwindled to CNY 141.7 million from CNY 990.7 million in 2016. Revenues rose 23.7% to CNY 26.47 billion on the back of the higher shipments.
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In the fourth quarter of 2017 the company shipped 2,481 MW, up 4.5% quarter-on-quarter and 43.1% year-on-year. Shipments in the first quarter of 2018 are seen in the range of 1.8 GW to 2 GW.
"While many of the details from the Section 201 petition have yet to be ironed out, we have finalized plans to invest in the construction of an advanced solar module manufacturing facility in the southeastern United States to address local market demand," Chen also said.