Yingli wins Senegal EPC work

Yingli Solar has announced a 2MW EPC order from Senegal’s national utility, representing another win for its growing downstream business, and another toehold in the emerging African market.

Working through its Spanish subsidiary, Baoding-based Yingli will co-develop the ground-mount project in the Senegalese capital of Dakar alongside state-owned utility Senelec.

The project – slated for completion in November – will feed an estimated 3.7MWh of power a year to a new conference centre, using Yingli’s multi-crystalline modules.

As a pure module order, the deal is hardly a drop in the bucket for a company that expects to ship at least 4GW this year. Yet is important for Yingli on other levels.

“This turnkey project is a new milestone for the company’s development in emerging markets, and will enhance our position as a solar energy solutions provider throughout Africa,” says Yingli chief executive Liansheng Miao.

Yingli’s largest order in Africa to date – and, indeed, one of the largest ever on the continent – was a 96MW order last year for an Iberdrola-led project in South Africa.

Outside of South Africa, the African PV market is still tiny – but growing quickly, and expected to continue doing so. East Africa recently got its first utility-scale PV array, in an 8.5MW project developed by Norway’s Scatec.

Yingli, which in recent months has bagged significant module orders in Malaysia, Turkey, and Israel, said recently that it sees “substantial upside in demand” in South America, Southeast Asia and Africa.

An executive at the company recently said he believes distributed PV represents the biggest opportunity in Latin America for the foreseeable future.

The Senegal order is also important in giving Yingli a chance to show off its EPC chops outside of China.

The company, like many of its closest Chinese rivals, is keen to diversify away from the low-margin business of supplying modules, and become a “solar solutions provider”.

Yingli expects to bring 400MW-600MW of PV capacity on line this year in China.