JA Solar Holdings Inc.

JA Solar Holdings Inc. was founded in 2005 and is based in Ningjin, in the People’s Republic of China. Its corporate headquarters are in Shanghai.

The Company benefits from a large subsidy(ies) from the Chinese Government and in 2011 shipped 1.69 GW of solar power products.

The Company is publicly listed on NASDAQ and can be found under the trading symbol JASO.

Solar Cells

JA Solar designs, manufactures, and sells monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon solar cells primarily in the People’s Republic of China who assemble and integrate its solar cells into modules and systems that convert sunlight into electricity.

It also sells the solar cells it produces to solar module manufacturers in Germany, Sweden, Spain, South Korea, and the United States.

Based on 2011 shipments, the Company is the second largest producer of solar cells in the world (according to solarbuzz).

High-Tech R&D Center

At the company’s research and development center, the Company’s R&D team works on improving energy efficiency as well as developing new fabrication process to substantially decrease the manufacturing cost while improving the solar cells efficiency in volume production.

Recently, their efforts have resulted in the development and production of JA Solar’s proprietary MAPLE quasi mono-crystalline as well as SECIUM mono-crystalline solar cells with conversion efficiencies rated over 18.6% and 19.5 %, respectively, which is the current industry average for monocrystalline solar cells.

Leveraging on its strong PV research and development capabilities, the Company focuses on improving its unique module assembly process and cell manufacturing technology while maintaining consistently low cell-to-module power loss in order to reap the full benefits of advanced cell efficiencies.

From what I can tell the combined advantages of vertical integration (i.e., as a result of a joint venture to acquire an equity stake in a silicon ingot manufacturer), low cost financing from the Chinese government, low labor costs, and high volume manufacturing make the Company's solar cells some of the lowest cost (per kWp) silicon based solar cells available and give the company a competitive advantage to produce its own modules.

Solar Modules

The Company also produces solar modules that use its own 60 and 72 cell monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells in standard blue and black, which it distributes under its own brand.

The Company produces its modules in Shanghai, Hebei (where they are building a 3GW production facility), Jiangsu and Anhui provinces.

Large-Scale Manufacturing


With cutting-edge manufacturing equipment, JA Solar has an annual solar cell production capacity of 3 GW, an annual module production capacity of 1.5GW , and an annual wafer production capacity of 1GW. With a selectively optimized vertical integration model, JA manufacturing facilities encompass the whole photovoltaic supply chain including wafers, cells, and modules.

Solar Developer and Installer


One of the Company's most interesting strategies to me is the formation of its own solar development and installation subsidiary Yangzhou JA Solar PV Engineering Co., Ltd.,

Not content to just produce cells and modules – Yangzhou Engineering was formed to promote the sale of JA Solar's products through the development and installation of solar projects.

Yangzhou Engineering's services include pre-planning, program selection, feasibility studies, engineering design, equipment procurement, project management, installation and construction, commissioning and system maintenance.
 


Since its establishment in November 2009, Yangzhou Engineering has actively expand domestic and overseas business, with PV system projects in Beijing, Qinghai, Jiangsu, Hebei, Gansu, Xinjiang in China, and Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Korea.

So far they have developed and installed 50 MW of solar projects and are poised to expand this as the government of China pushes towards its objective of installing increasing the installed based of solar projects from 5 to 21 GW by 2015.

To reach this objective – China would need to install as much solar per year as the world did in 2011.

JA Solar is poised very well as the largest solar company in China to get a large portion of this business.


Advice

First and second quarter 2012 reports for JA Solar have shown modest growth in shipments - which is not too bad in today's oversupply environment, however margins have been weak and the company has been burning through its cash reserves as it buys back some of its shares and continues to prepare for the growing business expected in China and Asia (although shipments to Germany and Italy were up in 2012 over 2011).

Given that it is the largest and lowest cost producer of crystalline solar cells, funded by the Chinese Government, and one of the best positioned to supply PV solar products to help the government meet its internal targets - I expect JA Solar to continue to stay in the top 10 of solar companies for the next few years


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