EQ In Exclusive Conversation With Mr. Daniel Liu, Head of South & Central Asia At JinkoSolar
EQ In Exclusive Conversation With Mr. Daniel Liu, Head of South & Central Asia At JinkoSolar
- Kindly shed some light on JinkoSolar’s presence in the Indian market.
JinkoSolar has been a consistent leader in the Indian market both in terms of shipments and technology. Jinko captured a market share of 22% with shipments reaching 1200 MW+ just in 2020. In addition to this, Jinko has also been recognized as the top supplier to India in the last quarter (Q4) of 2020 with a 650 MW shipment number across all segments.
To put things into perspective – Jinko has touched the 70 GW+ installation record across the globe and is the first company ever to achieve this amazing feat. As we continue to increase our market share in India, we have added some of the best clients and projects in our kitty. Jinko boasts of a rich customer mix between major IPPs, C&I Developers, EPCs and Rooftop players. We have been able to penetrate in the distribution segment as well with our Tiger and Tiger Pro Series modules which are already class performers in the utility segment.
Jinko has been a market leader when it comes to orchestrating a technology shift from poly to mono in India. We have been the advocates of Bifacial technology and its rampant adoption in all future utility scale projects. Jinko has supplied huge capacities to the likes of Azure Power, Adani Green, Fortum, ReNew Power, Mahindra Susten, CleanTech Solar, Amplus Solar, Hinduja Group, EDEN and KEC International among others, which speaks volumes about Jinko’s presence and its part in India’s solar journey.
- How would you like to respond to the recent reports claiming major suppliers backing out of contracts citing raw material price rise issues?
Jinko has been the only global player that was able to steer through these raw material supply and price challenges without backing out from any of the signed deals with our Indian customers. We have a well-defined strategy for India as it is one of the largest and most price sensitive market globally. I would like to shun away some recent baseless claims as rumors, which implied Jinko not being able to honor its commitments to its customers. We have had an excellent track record in India having the best of the clients in our kitty.
We saw a fabulous 2020 despite the challenges posed by the pandemic with over 1.2 GW of shipments to India. Moreover, JinkoSolar is the leading supplier to India in Q1 as per customs import data. This fact itself contradicts the false reports claiming Jinko to back out of orders. There will be an overlap with China, with demand peaking during Q4 in India too because of the BCD announcement from next year forcing developers to secure shipments by March 2022. This will further leave little or no room for price drops, but we are well equipped to face this challenge. Our focus and commitment to India will only grow stronger as we strive to bring the best products and technology to this market.
- Proposed BCD on Module/Cells Import in India…What are your views on this?
Basic Customs Duty is a paradigm shift in the Indian solar program. Several global investors had made a conscious choice to invest in India looking at its progressive policies. However, BCD is appearing to be a disruptive step, which would support only a select section of the stakeholders, while posing hurdles to many. Independent Power Producers are always willing to take risk by offering lower tariffs, bid after bid. They could only achieve such lower tariffs due to certain positive and supportive policies.
While we appreciate the Government’s intent behind imposing BCD on solar imports, a plan needs to be chalked out for its phased and gradual application rather than 40% straightaway from April 2022. This gives limited time to domestic players to ramp up their capacity in India and to the foreign players like us to take steps towards setting up base in India with a long-term business perspective. Apart from manufacturers, IPPs will also face the burden of added costs in their financial models with the BCD and the cess (4%) on it coming into play.
It is also important to view the BCD imposition timeline considering the ongoing COVID situation which might lead to manpower shortage and project delays, like last year. IPPs will have no option but to file appeals for COD extensions due to labor and raw material mobility constraints. It will only make sense to extend the BCD imposition timelines as well to account for these issues.
This, in the near team, will have only one affect – Increase in tariffs!
As the demand is very high with aggressive RE targets in India, dependency on imports cannot be zero both due to the quantity and quality factors. Are DISCOMs and end customers ready for this…?
- World Market Scenario and its impact on pricing and availability of modules in this year. Expected Pricing & Availability in this year and next year?
As many countries take actions to promote solar energy to cut carbon emissions and create a better environment, the demand is expected to be on a continuous rise. The sector is seeing a lot of serious investment worldwide across Utility Scale, C&I and Residential space. It is expected that the hiking price trend may continue until the first half of 2021. All of us are also aware of the raw material and freight situation and how that impacted prices in the last few quarters. If polysilicon and other components continue with their upward trend, the module pricing may be impacted further in the second half of 2021.
Recently, Solarzoom reported that polysilicon prices have hit an all-time high of 150 RMB/kg which is almost three times the Q2 2020 price! It is clear that polysilicon prices are not expected to drop for at least another six months.
With our capacity, advanced technology and strategic partnerships with raw material suppliers like Tongwei and Flat, JinkoSolar will maintain its leading position in the global market.
- Currently, what kind of modules have been demanded by Indian customers i.e. mono, poly, bifacial etc? Which grades? Explain.
The Poly technology is gradually obsoleting, primarily because it can’t produce higher wattage modules due to technology limitations. Mono PERC technology is the most preferred choice today. Within the Mono PERC technology, we have several options such as Standard Flat Ribbon, Tiling Ribbon, etc. Then we have the option to choose between mono-facial and bi-facial variants of one make. Within Bifacial technology, we have options with the type of back cover – glass-glass or glass-transparent back sheet. For the most efficient technology of modules, which can produce 550Wp to 580Wp power, only top-Tier (Super League) players have large production capacities to the tune of over 100-150GW globally. This means that IPPs can benefit immensely from the large volume availability and the resulting optimised BoS costs. We have been seeing this trend around the globe and India is not lagging anymore in adopting latest technologies. Recently, Mono PERC with Tiling Ribbon & Bifacial with dual glass or transparent back-sheet have been the top choices by IPPs.
- What are the new technology innovations in Solar Modules, Logistical aspects and usage of larger format modules?
Jinko’s Tiger Pro product was released in 2020 with power of 580W/585W, making it one of the most powerful products in the industry. This will completely change the dynamics. Our 182” platform for large-scale solar projects, is by far the most powerful commercial offering in India, with an output of 540-545W. The product’s size and weight are good enough to be packed safely and economically and is designed for traditional two-man carry and installation practice even in South East Asia regions or under other tough field conditions. Any size beyond this proportion is not friendly for shipping and installation.
JinkoSolar has 182” wafer-based Tiger Pro modules, measures 2,274mm x 1,134mm, weighing 28kg, making it perfect for two-man installation. It is compatible with centralized inverters and sits securely on a conventional tracking system. Besides, no portrait loading or lying flat package is required for fitting it into a 40’ High Cube. So, basically the m10 wafer-based module is optimized to meet the performance and reliability demands of the industry and to reduce the LCOE of a solar power plant.
- What are your plans to set up or grow your manufacturing base in India in light of the Proposed BCD?
JinkoSolar is a leading global player and we keep on expanding our manufacturing base year on year. We are evaluating the recent changes in Indian renewable energy policies and solar module import framework, and at an appropriate time will take a call on this.
- How much is your R&D budget as % of your sales/profits?
We are very focused on R&D. Last year more than 2% of the revenues were directed to R&D and this will be increasing each year as we grow in terms of sales, profitability and market share. Our emphasis has always been on offering advanced technology to our clients. We achieved 1347 Patent Applications, 94 invention patents, 958 Authorized Patents, with 1.124 billion RMB expenditure in last year.
- What do you foresee for JinkoSolar in 2021?
India is a strategic market for us due to its inherent growth opportunities and will continue to be so. We have even better expectations from 2021 both in India and globally. In India, we have already opened the year with record shipments in Q1 maintaining our market leader position form Q4 last year. This paves the way forward for us as we continue to focus on quality, profitability and technology.