The CEO of Chinese solar giant Yingli Green Energy has told analysts that China’s solar target of 100GW installed by 2020 could be viewed as a minimum, due to the number of factors currently driving demand in the developing country.
The comments were made in a conference call with analysts, after Yingli – now ranked as the world’s second-largest solar panel producer, behind compatriot Trina Solar – reported its 14th consecutive quarterly loss.
In response to a question from Roth Capital’s Philip Shen, Yingli chairman and CEO Liansheng Miao said that China’s continued demand for new energy capacity, its ongoing battle against air pollution and energy poverty, and its focus on economic development, meant the 100GW solar target set in Beijing’s last Five-Year Plan “could be treated as the bottom.”
Yingli, whose fourth quarter and full year 2014 financial results were released this week, shipped more than 3.3GW of solar power – a historical high for the company, whose cumulative shipments to Europe now total 5.5GW.
The company posted a $209.5 million loss for 2014; an improvement on the $321.2 million deficit posted for 2013, but, as Recharge has noted, “(Yingli) remains in the red while other major PV manufacturers have returned to profit – including Trina, which claimed the global top spot with 2014 shipments of 3.66GW.”
The company attributed its record high module shipments in 2014 to a 176 per cent increase in deliveries to Japan – now Yingli’s second-largest market – as well as its success in emerging markets like Latin America.
“A large part of our success can be attributed a high level of participation in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil,” said Miao.
“This translated into a year-over-year increase of total shipments to emerging markets from 8-14 per cent while the number for customers increased from more than 100 in 2013 to 377 in 2014.”
Speaking to analysts on Wednesday, Liansheng Miao said 2014 had been a transition year for the global PV industry, with strong demand from emerging markets making it more diversified.
“Asia and Europe and the Americas have become the third pillars of global PV market,” said Miao.
As for Australia, Yingli described the market here as challenging, as it continued to be “buffeted by headwinds” due to continued uncertainty around the renewable energy target.
“This lack of visibility is holding back opportunities as purchase decisions are delayed,” said Darren Thompson, Yingli’s VP, sales and Managing Director for Europe.
“Although a challenging environment, our local team in Sydney continues to generate success through distribution channels based on a core foundation of product performance and quality supported by recently launched partner loyalty program,” Thompson said.
Highlights of the quarter for Yingli included closing large utility-scale projects in Chile for 2015 delivery, and negotiations on additional significant utility-scale projects in Chile, Honduras and Mexico.
Yingli says it intends to expand its operations within the region, setting up local offices and investigating the development of local warehouses to support faster and more efficient fulfillment of customer demand.
“In Latin America we continue to engage earlier and more broadly with development partners to capture more of the value downstream,” Yingli said.
“On the product side, we continue to build on the introduction of the new product line of smart modules that feature the innovations in distributed electronics technology. Overall we expect to deliver more than a 1,000 megawatts for the Americas region in 2015.
Entering 2015, Yingli says its reserve project pipeline is more than 1.6GW at different approval stages across the dozen of provinces in China – a market it is increasingly relying upon, after tariff disputes with the US and EU.