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Yingli Green Energy: Set to Grow Even Bigger

Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited, which markets its products under the brand ‘Yingli Solar, is a leading solar energy company and one of the world’s largest vertically integrated photovoltaic manufacturers. Yingli Green Energy’s manufacturing covers the entire photovoltaic value chain, from the production of polysilicon through ingot casting and wafering, to solar cell production and module assembly. Currently, Yingli Green Energy maintains a balanced vertically integrated production capacity of over 1 GW per year. Two capacity expansion projects of 600 MW and 100 MW are under construction in Baoding and Hainan, respectively, which are expected to start initial production in the middle of 2011. Yingli Green Energy will increase the company’s total nameplate capacity to 1.7 GW in late 2011. In addition, Yingli Green Energy’s in-house polysilicon plant, Fine Silicon, which has a designed annual production capacity of 3,000 metric tons, has successfully started commercial operation in early August 2010. Yingli Green Energy distributes its photovoltaic modules to a wide range of markets, including Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, South Korea, China and the United States. Headquartered in Baoding, China, Yingli Green Energy has more than 12,000 employees and more than 10 subsidiaries and branch offices worldwide. The company is publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Chairman and CEO, Liansheng Miao talks about what catapulted the Chinese company into the ranks of world’s leading solar players.

Reported by Jeanny H. Lim (swied@infothe.com)



Could you tell us some of the competitive edges that differentiate you from your competitors?

We are one of the world’s largest vertically integrated photovoltaic manufacturers and are also the first company to manufacture through a complete PV value chain, from polysilicon to the assembly of PV modules all in one site. By monitoring the entire manufacturing process, we are able to consistently build high-quality and reliability into our products, optimize our cost structure, adopt cutting-edge production technologies, develop the most advanced manufacturing methods, and minimize carbon emission throughout our localized production process.

Furthermore, our products have passed stringent international certification testing standards such as TUV Rheinland, UL, etc. Our quality management system is accredited to ISO 9001 standards.


What is your priority this year?

We focus, of course, both on business and technology development. Truly, a company really cannot prosper without one of the two. I would not say there is an emphasis on one of the two.




Yingli Green Energy surprised people when it announced its sponsorship of 2010 FIFA World Cup. Sponsorship of sports events seems to be one of the marketing strategies preferred by Yingli Green Energy. Could you tell us more about your brand marketing?

We started our sponsorship back in 2006, when we put our 1 MW of our modules on top of Kaiserslautern stadium in Germany for the German World Cup. In 2007, we sponsored Osasuna and in 2010, we sponsored 2010 FIFA World Cup. Earlier this year, we sponsored FC Bayern Munchen, and recently we announced our sponsorship of 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup.

We believe that football is one of the most watched sports in the world and the World Cup is a great marketing platform. Football is also a great fit for our existing markets (such as Germany) as well as the markets which we wish to develop (such as South America).


Could you please tell us about your 2010 performance?

Our full year 2010 shipment volume reached 1,061.6 MW, beating our previous guidance of 1,020 MW to 1,040 MW. Our gross margin is 33.2% for the full year 2010.


What’s your production volume and sales target this year?

Based on current market and operating conditions, estimated production capacity and forecasted customer demand, our PV module shipment target to be in the estimated range of 1,700 MW to 1,750 MW for fiscal year 2011, which represents an increase of 60.1% to 64.8% compared to fiscal year 2010.


What does your plan for future expansion look like?

Two capacity expansion projects of 600 MW and 100 MW are under construction in Baoding and Hainan, respectively, which are expected to start initial production in the middle of 2011 and will increase our total capacity to 1.7 GW in late 2011.


Please introduce some of the recent and successful projects you’ve carried out.

Project: Formula 1 Grand Prix Circuit in Hockenheim, Germany, completed in June, 2010 and the capacity is 1 MW.

Project: New York jets Train Facility in New Jersey, United States, completed in August, 2010 and the capacity is 690 KW. There has been more than 2 GW Yingli Solar modules installed worldwide currently.


Recently, governments around the world, especially in Europe, have slashed subsidies for solar. What has the impact of that been so far for Yingli Green Energy?

Recently, the European governments announced the possibilities of subsidies reductions which created some tension in the markets.

Really though, when we come to solar energy, the key word is energy. As the industry is growing, the cost for solar energy must be close to the cost of conventional power, which will help to open new markets and also enhance the importance of renewable energy for social value.

We are well prepared for the subsidy reductions and look forward to the future for solar energy.



What is your view on technological development of solar cells and modules in the coming years?

We think, in the coming years, the main stream for solar cell technology would still be crystalline silicon solar cells. In addition, the N-type solar cell would have a higher potential for the increase of conversion efficiency than P-type.



That’s one of the main reasons for us to develop PANDA solar cell which is N-type high efficiency monocrystalline solar cells. For now, the average efficiency of PANDA cells on commercial production lines is 18.5%.

In comparison with utility segment, the residential rooftop segment is becoming more and more important. So we think, in the near future, there will be lots of new solar module technologies developed for rooftop modules. In general, the solar modules for the rooftop will go smarter and smarter so that it would be very easy for consumers to operate, for example, the microinverter technology. And it will also become highly integrated with the mounting system and/or the rooftop to reduce the installation cost and time and make solar rooftop more esthetically attractive.


What are your expectations for the development of the PV market in China this year?

The Chinese government is very supportive of the green energy market. The market is very big and is growing very quickly. We currently expect total demand in China for this year to reach approximately 1 GW and to continuously grow in the coming years. Our goal in China is to let everybody, especially rural areas, be able to use energy and get electricity. Through the energy development, it will help with the energy crisis in China, and also it is an opportunity in tough times for us. 



Jeanny H. Lim is Editor-in-Chief of InterPV. Send your comments to swied@infothe.com.



For more information, please send your e-mails to pved@infothe.com.

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