Yingli inks Japan distribution deal

Yingli Solar has signed a distribution agreement with Japanese PV dealer and installer XSOL, which the Chinese PV giant says will help drive sales in the margin-rich Japanese market over the next half-decade.

Yingli, the world’s largest vertically integrated PV manufacturer, will from mid-January begin selling its YGE 60-cell modules through XSOL, which has a network of more than 1,000 dealers and installers across Japan.

XSOL sold or installed 137MW of modules in Japan in its most recent fiscal year.

Yingli derived less than 1% of its revenues in Japan in 2012, but it holds several critical technical certifications within the country, and its sales there grew rapidly in 2013.

Yingli’s shipments to Japan rose 35% in the most recent quarter, and it predicts that as much 14% of its revenue will come from Japan in 2014 – likely making it the company’s fourth largest market after China, the US and Europe.

Japan has already become the single largest source of module revenue for some rival China-based PV manufacturers, such as Hanwha SolarOne.

According to Yingli executives, the company currently sells all of its modules in Japan under its own brand name, although it is known to be evaluating several potential local OEM deals.

Yingli chief executive Liansheng Miao says the distribution deal with XSOL “will help [the company] meet its strategic three-to-five year sales goals for Japan”.