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1 hour ago, solarpete said:

Agreed that IRRATIONAL exuberance is always a bad idea when investing.  But today's report gives plenty of reason for RATIONAL exuberance.

I did a short term trade yesterday on JKS buying in late yesterday  for a couple thousand shares. Sold it today for a 3.5% pop. I tried to get some CSIQ before earnings as well  at $20.21 but my bid never got hit. Darn.

 

Trading the volatility has been good so far this past couple of weeks.

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7 minutes ago, SCSolar said:

Trading the volatility has been good so far this past couple of weeks.

Indeed it has... I've been in and out of CSIQ 30 times this month so far.  I ended up adding a lot of shares on the selloff yesterday.  Way more than I was comfortable with and way more than I'll ever do again.  But jeez, there was a lot of writing on the wall for this move.  BUT, never again will I own so much of one position, even if I see that same writing again.  Given the overall market volitility, it felt more like gambling than I'm comfortable with.  But damn did it work out well.  

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Congratulations on your CSIQ trading!  I've been using ENPH and DQ, as they're more volatile, but I completely agree about not wanting to be overconcentrated in a single name.  You just never know what can happen.  But I am truly happy for you that it worked out well!

Let's see what JKS reports.  CSIQ and DQ certainly paint a rosy picture for the future.  Is it possible solar is FINALLY on the way to SUSTAINABLE profits and growth?

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1 hour ago, Mark said:

Indeed it has... I've been in and out of CSIQ 30 times this month so far.  I ended up adding a lot of shares on the selloff yesterday.  Way more than I was comfortable with and way more than I'll ever do again.  But jeez, there was a lot of writing on the wall for this move.  BUT, never again will I own so much of one position, even if I see that same writing again.  Given the overall market volitility, it felt more like gambling than I'm comfortable with.  But damn did it work out well.  

I've been jumping in and out of SQQQ TQQQ QLD UDOW DXD,. I sold out my short at -750 yesterday and took a long position that I sold  this AM. It has felt like gambling  and risky and the volatility is moving on certain news cycles.  I am heading into vacation for a week so I will be out of the market for a bit and sitting in cash.

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On 8/15/2019 at 2:30 PM, SCSolar said:

...As far as Japan projects, they have 90MW already in operation for sales. They also have an additional 120MW to be completed in 2019 and 2020 along with 187MW in 2021 and beyond. These numbers are around 40-50MW above the inital Japan projects MW schedule from a year ago. That indicates most of the projects of 150MW a year are still the higher FIT. That is a nice buffer for the next 2 to 3 years that will likely add and extra $150M in gross a year at a minimum.

To be more precise:  I meant to say that the high-margin Japanese projects were winding down, not that all Japanese projects were winding down.

In my understanding all Japanese projects >2MW with approved FITs have a first deadline of Sep 2019 to apply for grid connection and a second deadline of Sep 2020 to start commercial operation (see link).  Should they miss the first or the second deadline the FIT will be slashed in half approximately.

Thus I conclude that the maximum volume of high FIT (and thus high margin) japanese projects that CSIQ has available for monetization is a) the already operating projects (89.6MW) plus the COD volumes planned for the remaining of 2019 and 2020 (61.8MW+62.3MW).

Assuming $3.4/W and a GM of 30% that leaves them with roughly $200M in GP  that they can use to sweeten earnings over the coming quarters.  Once that is used up it's sayonara my friends, meaning back to low margin systems business in Japan.

http://taiyangnews.info/markets/japan-extends-timeline-for-solar-fit-cuts/

 

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3 hours ago, Klothilde said:

To be more precise:  I meant to say that the high-margin Japanese projects were winding down, not that all Japanese projects were winding down.

In my understanding all Japanese projects >2MW with approved FITs have a first deadline of Sep 2019 to apply for grid connection and a second deadline of Sep 2020 to start commercial operation (see link).  Should they miss the first or the second deadline the FIT will be slashed in half approximately.

Thus I conclude that the maximum volume of high FIT (and thus high margin) japanese projects that CSIQ has available for monetization is a) the already operating projects (89.6MW) plus the COD volumes planned for the remaining of 2019 and 2020 (61.8MW+62.3MW).

Assuming $3.4/W and a GM of 30% that leaves them with roughly $200M in GP  that they can use to sweeten earnings over the coming quarters.  Once that is used up it's sayonara my friends, meaning back to low margin systems business in Japan.

http://taiyangnews.info/markets/japan-extends-timeline-for-solar-fit-cuts/

 

I think that 30% GM is much to low. I believe their margins are higher pushing the costs  to produce 10-20% lower than you are modeling. With future cost to construct decreasing, it is possible to offset that and maintain good double digit margins.

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19 hours ago, SCSolar said:

I think that 30% GM is much to low. I believe their margins are higher pushing the costs  to produce 10-20% lower than you are modeling. With future cost to construct decreasing, it is possible to offset that and maintain good double digit margins.

I think you are right with Japanese margins coming in higher than 30% now.  There's one data point embedded in the Q3 guidance that points to GMs north of 40%.  Taking midpoints they are guiding $795M in Revenue @25% GM which increases to $985M @ 28% GM if they manage to close the sale of one project on time.  This implies an incremental revenue of $190M at 40.6%GM for the named project.  Imo this can only be the 56MW yamaguchi project that's still on their books: https://investors.canadiansolar.com/news-releases/news-release-details/canadian-solar-converts-golf-course-56mwp-solar-power-plant

This stretches the icing from $200M to $270M.

 

"...Total revenue for the third quarter is expected to be in the range of $780 million to $810 million. Gross margin for the third quarter is expected to be between 24% and 26%, reflecting the positive impact of planned higher gross margin project sales primarily in Japan and the U.S.  The aforementioned revenue forecast does not include the potential sales of a project that may be completed in the third quarter. If the transaction is closed in time, total revenue for the third quarter is expected to be in the range of $970 million to $1 billion and gross margin between 27% and 29%..."

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On 8/20/2019 at 8:35 AM, Klothilde said:

I think you are right with Japanese margins coming in higher than 30% now.  There's one data point embedded in the Q3 guidance that points to GMs north of 40%.  Taking midpoints they are guiding $795M in Revenue @25% GM which increases to $985M @ 28% GM if they manage to close the sale of one project on time.  This implies an incremental revenue of $190M at 40.6%GM for the named project.  Imo this can only be the 56MW yamaguchi project that's still on their books: https://investors.canadiansolar.com/news-releases/news-release-details/canadian-solar-converts-golf-course-56mwp-solar-power-plant

This stretches the icing from $200M to $270M.

 

"...Total revenue for the third quarter is expected to be in the range of $780 million to $810 million. Gross margin for the third quarter is expected to be between 24% and 26%, reflecting the positive impact of planned higher gross margin project sales primarily in Japan and the U.S.  The aforementioned revenue forecast does not include the potential sales of a project that may be completed in the third quarter. If the transaction is closed in time, total revenue for the third quarter is expected to be in the range of $970 million to $1 billion and gross margin between 27% and 29%..."

Now you are thinking. You can take your revenue numbers and determine what their cost to build is which is $2 or less and probably declining.

 

My understanding is the projects that do not get the paperwork processed from the 2012-2104 FIT get the FIT cut to 21Yen. There is still good profit in those.

There is still good profit in the FIT from 2015-present. Even todays FIT of 18 Yen is $0.17/KWhr. There is still a lot of cash generation at that FIT level for good teens to 20% margins.

It is not until 2022 or later that the FIT will be cut to 8.5Yen. by then costs will be under $1 even in Japan leaving good meat on the bones. It just will not be the cash cow they have now and volumes will have to scale as we have talked about many times over.

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8 hours ago, SCSolar said:

Now you are thinking. You can take your revenue numbers and determine what their cost to build is which is $2 or less and probably declining.

 

My understanding is the projects that do not get the paperwork processed from the 2012-2104 FIT get the FIT cut to 21Yen. There is still good profit in those.

There is still good profit in the FIT from 2015-present. Even todays FIT of 18 Yen is $0.17/KWhr. There is still a lot of cash generation at that FIT level for good teens to 20% margins.

It is not until 2022 or later that the FIT will be cut to 8.5Yen. by then costs will be under $1 even in Japan leaving good meat on the bones. It just will not be the cash cow they have now and volumes will have to scale as we have talked about many times over.

Thanks for pointing out the probability of higher margins.  Over the last couple of years all calcs and guidances pointed to 30%GM so that I had that number engraved and overlooked GM expansion potential through cost reduction.

That said I think your profitability assessment above does not cover the full shebang, i.e. the acquisition costs & development costs already sunk into the pipeline that need to be recouped in addition to the EPC costs.  Those costs are fixed and reduce or even eliminate the space for future cost reduction to adapt to lower FITs.

I suspect these costs are significant because any high FIT regime drives up project license prices.  I remember that during the peak of the Italian boom project rights were trading for north of €1/W.

Maybe you can help me with some related detective work here:

On page F-71 of their 20-F they claim to have $233M in long-lived assets in Japan as of Dec.31 2018.  They further state that those assets include "...property, plant and equipment, non-current project assets, solar power systems, prepaid land use rights and intangible assets..."

I suspect that those $233M include a big chunk paid for project licenses.  What do you think?  Because as far as I know they don't have big PP&E in Japan and also this number excludes current project assets (i.e. assets to be sold within the next 12 months) where projects in operation and in construction would primarily fall in imo.

 

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3 hours ago, Klothilde said:

Thanks for pointing out the probability of higher margins.  Over the last couple of years all calcs and guidances pointed to 30%GM so that I had that number engraved and overlooked GM expansion potential through cost reduction.

That said I think your profitability assessment above does not cover the full shebang, i.e. the acquisition costs & development costs already sunk into the pipeline that need to be recouped in addition to the EPC costs.  Those costs are fixed and reduce or even eliminate the space for future cost reduction to adapt to lower FITs.

I suspect these costs are significant because any high FIT regime drives up project license prices.  I remember that during the peak of the Italian boom project rights were trading for north of €1/W.

Maybe you can help me with some related detective work here:

On page F-71 of their 20-F they claim to have $233M in long-lived assets in Japan as of Dec.31 2018.  They further state that those assets include "...property, plant and equipment, non-current project assets, solar power systems, prepaid land use rights and intangible assets..."

I suspect that those $233M include a big chunk paid for project licenses.  What do you think?  Because as far as I know they don't have big PP&E in Japan and also this number excludes current project assets (i.e. assets to be sold within the next 12 months) where projects in operation and in construction would primarily fall in imo.

 

I think that CSIQ is using creative accounting for their owned projects. If you recall a while back in a con call they indicated they do not use the electric power generation as earnings, instead they reduce the cost of the plant by the revenue generated. This creates an increasingly lower cost base. That pumps earnings as those unclaimed power margins goes straight to the reduction of the cost to build as a rate higher than the resell value would decline.

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http://investors.canadiansolar.com/news-releases/news-release-details/canadian-solar-completes-sale-266-mwp-texas-solar-project-duke

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. and GUELPH, Ontario , Sept. 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Duke Energy Renewables, a subsidiary of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), is expanding its solar energy portfolio by acquiring the 200-megawatt (MWac) / 266-megawatt peak (MWp) Rambler solar project from Recurrent Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc. (" Canadian Solar ") (NASDAQ: CSIQ). The project will be located in Tom Green County, Texas and is expected to achieve commercial operation in mid-2020.

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Just need them to flip that Japanese plant in the next few weeks to really make us happy.  If they do that, it may be the first time in years that the stock rallies on good news.  Usually it seems to go the other way on non-earnings news. Stock has been acting strange lately if you ask me.  

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Qu should rather explain to us how he will deal with the 350MW of Chinese power plants owned.  Will he sell them at a loss or write down their asset value?  And how big is the blow going to be?  $100 - $150M maybe?  Cause the Ministry of Finance has clarified that power plant owners can basically go **** themselves:
http://guangfu.bjx.com.cn/news/20191016/1013410.shtml

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4 hours ago, Klothilde said:

Qu should rather explain to us how he will deal with the 350MW of Chinese power plants owned.  Will he sell them at a loss or write down their asset value?  And how big is the blow going to be?  $100 - $150M maybe?  Cause the Ministry of Finance has clarified that power plant owners can basically go **** themselves:
http://guangfu.bjx.com.cn/news/20191016/1013410.shtml

As per Qu: "Canadian Solar’s bifacial module products are competitive with or without this tariff exemption". Next year tariff in USA is going down to 20% and then to 15%. Bifacial format is becoming fast superior to conventional. First solar doesn't look a success story anymore. They just came to finish line with S6 format upgrade, and look what Chinese have - new headache - Bifacial.... 🙂 O no, we have to spend money again to upgrade all production lines.... Soon there will be no cash left (the only pride of FSLR)... And if miracle happens and DemPres is elected with ideas of H. Clinton to open gate for import of 500 mln panels, then FSLR is done - bankrupt!!! They don't lead anymore, they are trying to keep up. They keep all eggs in one basket, which is US market. Not investable for me! 

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I think you are exaggerating.  There are very good things coming to FSLR starting with Q3 and I think it's time to start giving the company a little bit of credit for all that hard work.

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37 minutes ago, Klothilde said:

I think you are exaggerating.  There are very good things coming to FSLR starting with Q3 and I think it's time to start giving the company a little bit of credit for all that hard work.

 I am not exaggerating Klothilde. Raise yourself above Q3/Q4 and look at the whole picture. What I see is FSLR, which is stuck in the niche, where no competition is going on, within that niche. And silicon guys, on the contrary, have entire food chain (ingots, wafers, cells, modules, bifacial modules) where ruthless competition is going on - pushing prices down for components and modules as a result. Different demand/supply cycles, within silicon food chain, allow companies like CSIQ to profit and have margin of up to 25%, even if entire PV market is in downtrend. FSLR is spending all their reserves just to keep up. And the best solution, they found so far, is to increase the size of their module...??? The way I see it: Bifacial format is point-blank shot into FSLR's head. Funny is that this blow came exactly when they finished S6 upgrade. FSLR is also mostly focused on the large scale PV plants, and this is exactly where bifacial is getting more success! With tariffs or without. How much money now FSLR have to spend to make bifacial? Is CdTe (Cadmium/Telluride) technology even make sense to make bifacial?  

image.png

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Well your graph shows that CdTe and bifacial silicon perform more or less at par.

However the question is if one technology is superior to the other in the mid- / long term in terms of levelized cost (i.e. $/kWh).

Right now on my books FSLR is head to head with the lowest cost CN producers.  It will be interesting to see how both technologies develop in cost position going forward.  I think that FSLR will maintain a stronger cost reduction momentum than the CNs over the next couple of years.  

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2 hours ago, MVA said:

 I am not exaggerating Klothilde. Raise yourself above Q3/Q4 and look at the whole picture. What I see is FSLR, which is stuck in the niche, where no competition is going on, within that niche. And silicon guys, on the contrary, have entire food chain (ingots, wafers, cells, modules, bifacial modules) where ruthless competition is going on - pushing prices down for components and modules as a result. Different demand/supply cycles, within silicon food chain, allow companies like CSIQ to profit and have margin of up to 25%, even if entire PV market is in downtrend. FSLR is spending all their reserves just to keep up. And the best solution, they found so far, is to increase the size of their module...??? The way I see it: Bifacial format is point-blank shot into FSLR's head. Funny is that this blow came exactly when they finished S6 upgrade. FSLR is also mostly focused on the large scale PV plants, and this is exactly where bifacial is getting more success! With tariffs or without. How much money now FSLR have to spend to make bifacial? Is CdTe (Cadmium/Telluride) technology even make sense to make bifacial?  

image.png

FSLR series 6 has about the same power output of a CSIQ CS3U-420PG-AG.

FSLR takes up 23% more space to get the same power as the CSIQ CS3U-420PG-AG.

FSLR series 6 weighs 40% more than the CSIQ CS3U-420PG-AG.

FSLR series 6 is 60% thicker that the CSIQ CS3U-420PG-AG

 

CSIQ module  being smaller in footprint, lighter and thinner will reduce shipping costs, means that more panels can be installed in the same square area and thus a higher density of panels for higher outputs per acre leading to lower cost per watt generated overall.

 

All those benefits that FSLR preached 3 years ago about cost savings due to more power in the module is all wiped out when it comes to LCOE.  I believe even the temperature coefficients and low light absorption benefits that FSLR used to have is mostly wiped out. Yet FSLR keeps reference their benefits over Silicon modules by comparing to outdated 7 year old Silicon technology.

 

As far as price points, CSIQ is about $0.20 today, FSLR Series 6, is not ramped and by most estimates of their target costs when ramped was to be around $0.21. That was before line process modifications to debottle neck a manufacturing process issue that was causing significant line down and throughput issues.

 

FSLR is a 1 trick pony in a protected market. Yes they can make money in a protected market but will struggle outside of that 1 market.

 

 

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16 hours ago, SCSolar said:

FSLR series 6 has about the same power output of a CSIQ CS3U-420PG-AG.

FSLR takes up 23% more space to get the same power as the CSIQ CS3U-420PG-AG.

FSLR series 6 weighs 40% more than the CSIQ CS3U-420PG-AG.

FSLR series 6 is 60% thicker that the CSIQ CS3U-420PG-AG

CSIQ module  being smaller in footprint, lighter and thinner will reduce shipping costs, means that more panels can be installed in the same square area and thus a higher density of panels for higher outputs per acre leading to lower cost per watt generated overall.

All those benefits that FSLR preached 3 years ago about cost savings due to more power in the module is all wiped out when it comes to LCOE.  I believe even the temperature coefficients and low light absorption benefits that FSLR used to have is mostly wiped out. Yet FSLR keeps reference their benefits over Silicon modules by comparing to outdated 7 year old Silicon technology.

As far as price points, CSIQ is about $0.20 today, FSLR Series 6, is not ramped and by most estimates of their target costs when ramped was to be around $0.21. That was before line process modifications to debottle neck a manufacturing process issue that was causing significant line down and throughput issues.

FSLR is a 1 trick pony in a protected market. Yes they can make money in a protected market but will struggle outside of that 1 market.

Well we work with different assumptions so our conclusions are different.

For starters if I compare these datasheets I get lower differences in area efficiency and weight:
http://www.firstsolar.com/-/media/First-Solar/Technical-Documents/Series-6-Datasheets/Series-6-Datasheet.ashx
https://www.canadiansolar.com/upload/35ccd0bf406656df/de4cee449c973a76.pdf

I also look at NOCT power and that gives a different picture since CdTe has a lower temperature coefficient.

I also don't think CSIQ can produce that module for 20 cts but probably for 22-23 cts (China).  Just the additional glass sheet may increase cost by one cent, you can do the math:
https://en.pvinfolink.com/

It all hinges on the assumptions.  

 

 

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6 hours ago, Klothilde said:

Well we work with different assumptions so our conclusions are different.

For starters if I compare these datasheets I get lower differences in area efficiency and weight:
http://www.firstsolar.com/-/media/First-Solar/Technical-Documents/Series-6-Datasheets/Series-6-Datasheet.ashx
https://www.canadiansolar.com/upload/35ccd0bf406656df/de4cee449c973a76.pdf

I also look at NOCT power and that gives a different picture since CdTe has a lower temperature coefficient.

I also don't think CSIQ can produce that module for 20 cts but probably for 22-23 cts (China).  Just the additional glass sheet may increase cost by one cent, you can do the math:
https://en.pvinfolink.com/

It all hinges on the assumptions.  

 

 

Hmmm using that data sheet, the HiKu modules you are referencing  are 10% smaller not 24% smaller using the make and model I mentioned.

Using the specs in the installation manua(pg 26)l for the CSIQ module I identified being the CS3U-420PG-AG.  I get 24% smaller and a smaller weight.

 

https://www.canadiansolar.com/upload/f9acf4466d1e0c6f/87ce57c92c82e873.pdf

 

The dimensions in your data sheets still have the CSIQ footprint as  smaller and  the module is still 30mm vs FSLR 49MM or FSLR is 50% thicker and is atleast 7 KG heavier than the CSIQ module

 

And with the spec sheet I see the HIKU 420W Bi Facial module producing 462W @ 10% backplane power vs  FSLR 420W .

 

Based on dimensions of your module the CSIQ 420Module @10% generates backplane .2067W per 1000squareMilimeters while FSLR gnereates 0.168W in the same square millimeters.

 

Looking at those power numbers you preset, the CSIQ module generates and astounding 21.9% more power in the same square meter than the FSLR module and they could generate more. but I chose the 10% backplane power.

 

Oh and did I mention that was the second lowest power module on your data sheet. The 435W module in the same foot print generates more than 3% more power on top of the 420W per square meter vs the FSLR module.

As for the rest, the thermal impacts, FSLR is better at -0.32 while CSIQ is at -0.37. That is not very much degredataion at higher heat for CSIQ and certainly not even close to the 22% more power generated in the same surface area.

 

From what I see the specs of the CSIQ blows the doors off the FSLR for power generated per square meter and weight. Your data does nothing to support my suggestion of lower costs for builders who use CSIQ 420 modules.

 

Like I said, FSLR was comparing their Series 6 to 5 to 7 year old Solar module tech to get their what 15% lower LCOE which is a false claim these days,

 

come on Kloth, I know you can do better your not that far off your game are you?

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This silly debate inadvertently spells outs First Solar's best selling point. FSLR make one product while Canadian Solar and others make several dozens of panels, all of varying sizes and technologies. Good luck to any developer using these non-traditional sized panels finding replacements in a few years.

This article does a good job spelling out the mess the industry is in with this absurd game of claiming high wattage panels.

https://www.pv-tech.org/editors-blog/solar-panel-suppliers-fixated-on-power-gains-but-is-the-industry-really-ben

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2 hours ago, Luz del Norte said:

This silly debate inadvertently spells outs First Solar's best selling point. FSLR make one product while Canadian Solar and others make several dozens of panels, all of varying sizes and technologies. Good luck to any developer using these non-traditional sized panels finding replacements in a few years.

This article does a good job spelling out the mess the industry is in with this absurd game of claiming high wattage panels.

https://www.pv-tech.org/editors-blog/solar-panel-suppliers-fixated-on-power-gains-but-is-the-industry-really-ben

Most of the power gains have been incremental and not game changing. The article is clearly off a bit. For example   Florida Power and light/NextEra  is partnering with Jinko Solar and is taking their high powered latest and greatest 400W modules. So clearly something is worth having  the modules and large companies are not shunning them.

While I agree a few pennies does not make a difference on a project but $0.05 or $0..10 does when a project is being built for sub $1/watt. 

What really the discussion is about is FSLR costs and the reliance on a single market as well as their past marketing suggesting HUGE cost savings advantages with their(yes I will go their) next gen high powered modules. Those cost savings that used to be preached for the Series 6 is gone when comparing to current gen Si modules.

 

When FSLR steps outside of the current protected US market, they are not competitive and they still have a large series 4 capacity that will be written down further.

 

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5 hours ago, SCSolar said:

From what I see the specs of the CSIQ blows the doors off the FSLR for power generated per square meter and weight. Your data does nothing to support my suggestion of lower costs for builders who use CSIQ 420 modules.

FSLR is currently at a disadvantage in energy intensity relative to high-end bifacial modules but the gap is not as radical as you portray it.  

Your assumptions are off and not apples to apples imo.

You pick a high-end bifacial module of CSIQ (instead of an average one) and compare it to the least efficient FSLR module.  Also you ignore FSLR's temperature advantage and work with unrealistic bifacial gain assumptions.

These are the mainstream poly PERC bifacial modules of CSIQ:
https://www.canadiansolar.com/upload/6fe376b80cce7983/64632b2f47ca72b2.pdf

The highest efficiency module here, CS3U-365PB-AG, has a NOCT power of 271W.  Assuming a bifacial gain of 7% (mix sand/grass, p. 13) you get 290W. Relative to the area of the module that's 145W/m2.

The mid-range module on the S6 datasheet has 435W at STC and 328.5W at NOCT.  Relative to the area that's 132W/m2.
http://www.firstsolar.com/-/media/First-Solar/Technical-Documents/Series-6-Datasheets/Series-6-Datasheet.ashx

Yields a 10% energy intensity advantage for the bifacial module of CSIQ.  However this is not equal to an LCOE advantage as the module cost hasn't entered the equation yet.

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, SCSolar said:

When FSLR steps outside of the current protected US market, they are not competitive and they still have a large series 4 capacity that will be written down further.

They already impaired the hell out of the S4 lines at the end of 2016 and three years later there should be only peanuts remaining.

If you are concerned about impairments why not focus on Jinko Power's and CSIQ's Chinese power plants now that the Chinese government has confirmed that it has no plans to raise additional subsidies for legacy plants?  Those potential impairments look way juicier to me.

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