Yingli forms $160m project fund

PV giant Yingli Solar will link with investment group Sailing Capital to form a 1bn yuan ($160m) fund targeting solar plant investments in China.

Yingli – the world’s biggest supplier of PV modules – is accelerating its push into the downstream end of the market, and the new Shanghai-based fund will mainly invest in its own projects.

The solar group will contribute about 51% of the fund’s initial capital, with Sailing Capital – which claims to be China’s first large, cross-border renminbi-based private equity fund – providing the balance.

Bryan Li, chief strategy officer at Yingli, said: "We are delighted to partner with Sailing Capital, a leading RMB private equity fund with robust funding resources, to accelerate our footprint in the downstream solar energy market.

"As a long-term strategic repositioning, this co-operation is a solid step towards our transition from a PV manufacturer to a renewable energy solutions provider.

"By securing a priority right in investing in Yingli Green Energy's downstream solar projects, we should also be able to seek more sources of investment in solar PV projects, while at the same time minimising potential risks."

The fund is the second major announcement within a few days relating to Yingli’s downstream ambitions.

On Monday Yingli announced plans to sell 300MW of grid-connected PV plants in China over the next three years to United Photovoltaic Group (formerly known as Goldpoly).