The world’s largest solar wafer manufacture GCL Poly is looking to further expand its already giant capacity.
The company reported great results seeing a very large increase in the sales of both solar wafers and polysilicon as the global solar (NYSEARCA:TAN) demand increased by 30%. The company which has around 12 GW of solar wafer capacity and 65000 tons of poly capacity will further increase both. The company plans to build a new FBR technology based poly plant of 25000 tons, which will increase its poly capacity by ~40% and wafer capacity by 1 GW. GCL Poly now accounts for almost 25% of the global market in both poly and wafers.
The company has extremely low costs in wafers and poly both and is further set to decrease the costs, even as ASPs for both poly and wafers improve. The price of wafers has improved by 10% for the company to 23c/watt, while poly has increased by 30% to around $21/kg compared to the first quarter of last year. GCL Poly has very strong relationships with almost all of the big Chinese solar panel companies such as Trina Solar (TSL), Yingli Energy (YGE), and Canadian Solar (CSIQ) etc. The company has also built wafer plants near their factories to reduce the logistics and transportation cost. GCL Poly is now looking to further build on its advantage by building large capacities that will come online over the next 2 years. Poly and wafer prices are still far below their all-time peaks, but the company is making decent margins thanks to the cost reduction efforts over the past couple of years. Solar production costs are decreasing continuously all through the supply chain and the stability in solar product prices have helped companies to increase margins.
I think that GCL Poly is a good investment, given its No.1 position in the PV upstream materials market. The company has not been as successful in the downstream part of the business, given the early mover advantage that it had. Other solar downstream companies such as Jinko Solar (JKS), Canadian Solar have done much better than GCL Poly. However, the company has managed to increase much stronger from the solar downturn and should be able to reap the gains of the upcycle that the solar industry is seeing at the current moment.
Here is a link to their annual report.