Yingli 500MW China distributed PV JV

Yingli Solar has finalised plans for a joint venture with the renewables subsidiary of state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), taking aim at China’s under-developed distributed-generation market.

The JV, with CNNC unit China Rich Energy Corp., will target 500MW of initial distributed-generation capacity across China, at least 200MW of which will be built on CNNC sites.

The agreement – announced just days after Yingli unveiled plans for a separate JV with a unit of state-owned coal giant Datong Coal Mine Group – comes amid a push by Beijing to bring a greater sense of unification to China’s broader energy goals, a programme which includes shaking out many smaller, uncompetitive PV manufacturers.

In November the Chinese government ramped up its target for 2014 PV installations to 12GW, including 8GW of distributed PV, a market segment which has taken off slowly in the country compared to utility-scale projects. 

Some market experts, including IHS, have predicted that China will fall “far short” of its 12GW target due to its inexperience with distributed PV.

However, Yingli chief executive Liansheng Miao says he expects the distributed PV sector will undergo “rapid growth in China in the near term”.

A greater focus on distributed PV would ease some of the grid-related challenges China’s renewables industries face.

Hongchao Xu, deputy general manager of China Rich Energy, says the JV’s plans for distributed PV are “in line with the strategic targets of the Chinese government”.

China Rich Energy was created by CNNC in 2011 as a vehicle for investing in the country’s fast-growing wind and solar sectors.

“While CNNC remains committed to nuclear power development, we are increasing our activities in the renewable-energy space, in order to expand our development space,” Xu says.