- Aiko Solar’s shipments in 2021 went up 43.20% to 18.85 GW and operating income improved 60.09% to RMB 15.47 billion, on annual basis
- It has reported net loss of RMB-125.55 million due to negative impact of COVID-19, power cuts in China and tight as well as high priced supply of raw materials
- Management expects to grow its overall cell production capacity to 45 GW by the end of 2022, up from 36 GW at 2021-end
Monocrystalline solar PV PERC cell manufacturer from China, Aiko Solar sold 18.85 GW of cells in 2021, reflecting an increase of 43.20%. But it reported a net loss of RMB-125.55 million compared to a net profit of RMB 805.45 million on annual basis due to a number of factors including high price of silicon wafers during the reporting period.
The company has reported its last year’s operating income as having gone up by 60.09% to RMB 15.47 billion, however its operating costs too matched the income with an annual increase of 77.59% to RMB 14.60 billion, thanks to COVID-19 impact globally, power cuts in China and tight supply of raw materials, the company stated in its 2021 annual report.
Due to the same above stated reasons, Aiko Solar was not able to run its production facilities at full capacity leading to utilization rate of 75.19%, a drop of 17.98 percentage points from 93.17% in 2020.
Management explains that temporary production halts led to reduction in production capacity and logistics disruptions related to shipping also exacerbated problems in all links of the industrial supply chain. Since 2021, many companies are seen to be increasing their inventories—actively or passively—to ensure continuity of production and operation, which is leading creating further imbalance between supply and demand.
All these factors among others push up silicon prices that increased by 177% from RMB 85 per kg at the beginning of 2021 to RMB 269 per kg in November 2021, eventually increasing cell costs.
To deal with the current situation and insulate its supply chain from dynamic cost pressures, Aiko Solar has been securing long term procurement deals like with Shangji Automation for 552 million monocrystalline silicon wafers by 2024 (see China PV News Snippets).
The management also added that at present the global shipping blockages are mostly resolved and module exports have returned to normal.
Despite the operating pressure on its business, Aiko Solar says it increased R&D investment by 70.93% to RMB 650 million. It plans to speed up construction of its 6.5 GW ABC N-type solar cell production facility in Zhuhai, targeting commercial operation timeline of Q3/2022.
At the end of 2021, Aiko Solar’s PERC solar cell production capacity reached 36 GW, having gone up 63% from 22 GW at the end of 2020. Focusing on large wafer sized cells, the Chinese producer is updating its production technology at Yiwu and Tianjin to turn to 182mm size from 166mm and plans to complete the process before June 2022.
“After the transformation is complete, more than 95% of the company’s cell production capacity can produce cells of 182mm or more sizes, while some 182mm capacity will also be able to flexibly switch between 210mm size,” it added.
Aiko Solar expects all these measures to expand its total cell production capacity by the end of 2022 to 45 GW.