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Interview

GM OF MEA OF SOUTH ASIA; JA SOLAR CO. LTD.

STEVEN CHEN

Q1. Please enlighten us about the journey of JA Solar in Indian market.

With the development of local economy, the demand for electricity in India has grown rapidly. However, coal power is still the main energy source of electricity in India at present, and there are always problems of insufficient power supply and environmental pollution.There is an urgency to generate reliable power from different forms of renewable energy in India.  This has accelerated the development of photovoltaic energy generation in the country. At the same time, India has unique sunlight conditions, with 250 to 300 sunny days every year, and an average daily radiation of 4.0-7.0kWh/m2 in most areas.This puts India in an excellent positionto develop solar energy.

JA Solar is optimistic about the potential of India's solar market and is among the first Chinese solar companies to enter the Indian market. With its excellent products and services, the JA Solar brand quickly gained the recognition of local customers.In 2017, its shipments to India exceeded 1GW, which made it the third largest module supplier to the Indian market of the year. In July 2018, India started to implement a 25% duty on cells and modules from China. Since then, the Indian market has become more sensitive to prices. A large number of second- and third-tier brands have entered the Indian market with a low-price strategy.As a result, the share of high-efficiency products of first-tier manufacturers in the Indian market has significantly decreased. With the tariff scheduled to expire in the second half of 2020, we believe it will be an opportunity for tier-one module producers, like JA Solar, to further expand their presence in the Indian market and provide high-efficiency, high-performance PV products in the region.

Q2. What are the key products in JA Solar’s product portfolio for India?

JA Solar is committed to promoting the development of the PV industry and providing customers with high-performance modules.The products we provide for Indian customers include PERC modules, bifacial modules and MBB half-cell modules with high efficiency and superior performance. However, as mentioned above, due to the tariff policy, the Indian market is more price sensitive, and there is great cost pressure for module manufacturers to sellhigh-efficiency products. Therefore, at present, poly modulesaccount for the majority of our sales volume in India.

Q3. How critical is the Indian market according to you? How this market is different from other markets?

According to IHS, India is estimated to be the third largest solar market in 2019 globally. The Indian market has witnessed a rapid market expansion from a yearly installed capacity of 1GW in 2014 to more than 10GW this year.According to IEA, India's electricity demand was 1,102 TWh in 2016 and is expected to exceed 3,600 TWh by 2040.With that, PV companies, like JA Solar, see a large opportunity in the Indian market in the years ahead.

We are aware that 60GW of the JNNSM program is for ground-mounted projects. The other 40GW of the program will be focused on rooftop systems. The modules used in rooftop systems will be primarily high-efficiency and will be deployedmainly through distribution. Therefore, we are developing distribution channels in India, which we believecan benefit more local people.

Q4. What are the unique selling points of JA Solar that makes you different from other manufacturers?

JA Solar holds the advantages of integrated value chain in the solar industry. It manufactures products across wafers,cells and modules, and sets high standards for quality control throughout the production process to ensure the quality and performance of its solar products. The company also positions itself a technology leader inthe industry by investing inresearch and development that drivesinnovation and application of wafers, cells and modules.Its products have been recognized by third-parity authoritative organizations including TÜV SÜD, Intertek. Its PV labs and products have also passed a number of international certifications, andthe brand wasrecognized as “Top Performer” in DNV GL/PVEL 2019 PV module reliability scorecard and “TOP Brand PV Europe” by EUPD, etc. JA Solar was also one of the first Chinese companiesthat received the BIS certification in 2018.

As the patent holder of several advanced technologies including the PERC technology and bifacial PERC technology, JA Solar supports and benefits from IP protection. This year, the company licenses IP rights of Gallium-doped silicon wafers for solar cell applications from Shin-Etsu Chemical, which would effectively improve the performance of its solar products.

In addition to product quality, JA Solar puts great emphasis on customer experience. Mr. JinBaofang, Chairman of the Board of Directors, requires that employees be "customer-oriented" and continuously create value for customers. We continue to invest in R&D to develop high-efficiency modules, reduce module and system costs, and optimize profits of solar power plants. We have a customer service system in place that addresses customer needs and provides timely response and feedback. The Indian market is highly competitive, but we believe that brandswith high-quality products andexcellentservices will stand out from the competition.

Q5. Please tell us about your manufacturing and R&D division. How do you ensure the quality of your products?

JA Solar leads the industry in technological innovation, R&D and application. We focus on R&D spending to drive innovation. In 2018, our research spending reached 990,796,800 Yuan, accounting for 5.04% of the company’s total revenue. The number of research personnel in JA Solar is around 1,150, accounting for 5.75% of total headcount.

JA Solar was granted the patent for PERC technology in 2012.In 2014, the company applied the technology and put it into mass production. It further developed the bifacial PERC technology,and secures the relevant patents. In addition to independent research and development, JA Solar actively cooperates with domestic and foreign research institutions to continuously improve product performance. Just a few months ago, JA Solarbegan licensing IP rights of Gallium-doped silicon wafers for solar cell applications from Shin-Etsu Chemical. This assures the performance of PV modules assembled with p-type silicon-wafer based solar cells more stable and better by alleviating light induced degradation (LID) upon initial light illumination.

In terms of quality, JA Solar has been recognized by TÜV SÜD, Intertek, PI-Berlin, Solar-IF, National Institute of Metrology, China and other third-party authorities. We implementa standardized production management system, and have received ISO9001, ISO14001, OHSAS18001 and other management system certification.

JA Solar’s continued investment in production and R&D ensures the excellent quality of its products, which are widely recognized by customers from India and other countries around the world. JA Solar ranked No.2 in the TOP 10 Solar Module Suppliers of 2018 categoryand topped the Top 10 Solar Cell Producers of 2018 according to PV Tech.

Q6. How is JA Solar providing after sales satisfaction to its customers? How important is after sales support in solar market?

JA Solar focuses on localization across the globe, and has established over 20 branches around the world and international sales teamsto provide after-sales service and timely support to its customers. At present, the average warranty period for solar modules is generally 25 years. With such a long period, it is important to maintain the operating condition and performance of modules, and provide customers with timely after-sales service and superior support. JA Solar’safter-sales service team is required to reply to customers' problems within 24 hours, arrive at the customer site within 48 hours, and resolve all customer complaints within a week. Mr. JinBaofangexpects the employees to be "customer-oriented" all the time, and we also try our best to put it into practice in our daily work.

Q7. Do you have any future investment plans for the Indian market? If yes, by when.

As mentioned above, JA Solar will devote greater resources to developing localizeddistribution channels.Wealso intend to invest in building new production facilities in India, but it dependson the development of the company and the industry.

Q8. Till now how much capacity JA Solar has supplied to Indian market?

JA Solar is highly recognized by Indian customers, with shipments to India exceeding 1GW in 2017, ranking the third on module supplier list. When the 25% duty was implemented on 30 July, 2018, JA Solar and other first-tier companies didn’t see much increase in shipments to India. The India government has set a target of reaching 100 GW of installed capacity by 2022.With the 25% tariff expected to expire in the second half of 2020, we see an emerging trend towardhigher efficiency, high-quality products within the Indian market. As a supplier of high-performance, high-efficiency solar products, we at JA Solarare optimistic about the future development of our business in the region.