Yingli in 300MW downstream deal

In the largest-ever deal related to its growing downstream ambitions, Yingli has 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).

Yingli’s in-house team will develop and build the projects – located primarily in Hebei, Guangxi, Shanxi and Shandong provinces – before selling them on to Hong Kong-listed United PV.

For Yingli, the deal creates a clear pathway forward for its downstream business, which was seeded with large ambitions upon its establishment two years ago, but which has yet to settle on a concrete business model.

Yingli – which derived nearly 95% of its $2.2bn in revenues last year from its core module supply business – is considering various downstream business models, including operating as a developer, PV generator, EPC provider, or some combination thereof.

Yingli claims to have a 1GW project pipeline in its home country, and a 200MW pipeline overseas. The company expects to ship as much as 4.2GW of modules this year.

Meanwhile United PV, which changed its name from Goldpoly in February, has staked a claim as one of the most aggressive and important aggregators of PV plants in China, which has emerged as the world’s largest PV market.

United PV – in which GCL-Poly holds a minority stake – has engaged in various activities over the years, and still derives most of its revenues from its legacy cell-manufacturing business.

The company swallowed a HK$2.3bn loss last year as it transitions to become what chief financial officer Hong Li calls “the leading operation platform for solar PV plants in China”.