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Posts Tagged ‘Yingli’

Photo: WorldWater & Solar Technologies

I wrote this story for Grist, where it first appeared.

Carbon neutral jumbo jets may be a long way off but some airports are making strides in cutting their greenhouse gas emissions.

Denver International, for instance, announced Tuesday that it will install a 4.4-megawatt solar array, more than doubling the 2 megawatts’ worth of photovoltaic panels the airport built in 2008. Earlier this year, Denver signed a deal for a third array, which will generate an additional 1.6 megawatts of electricity.

Yingli Green Energy is providing the 19,000 panels for the 4.4-megawatt project. A Yingli spokesperson told me that altogether, the photovoltaic arrays will supply on average about 6 percent of the airport’s electricity demand. But on days when the sunshine is intense, the solar farm would generate enough electricity to meet nearly a third of Denver International’s electricity needs.

When completed in 2011, the 4.4-megawatt installation will be Colorado’s largest commercial solar project. But what’s really notable is the photovoltaic module maker supplying the solar panels, Yingli.

The Chinese company only entered the United States in 2009 and by that year’s end had captured nearly a third of the California solar market, the bright star of the U.S. solar system. Low-cost Chinese solar companies now supply almost half the California market, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a consulting and research firm.

The Denver deal is another sign that Yingli and other Chinese solar panel makers are shaking up the U.S. market as they move beyond their California base.

In other news, another relatively little-known Chinese firm, Solarfun, said Monday it struck a deal to supply 9.5 megawatts’ worth of solar modules to Martifer Solar, the U.S. subsidiary of a Portuguese renewable energy company, which will install them at projects in California and Colorado.

“Solarfun is focused on the U.S. market as one of our primary growth drivers going forward and we expect Martifer to be a key partner as we continue to build market presence and share,” Bruce Ludemann, the vice president and general manager of Solarfun’s North American operations, said in a statement.

Such success may cause consternation in the executive suites of rivals from Bonn to Silicon Valley, where low-cost Chinese manufacturing is forcing competitors to become even more efficient and maintain their technological edge.

But in the end, the China’s ability to secure such large deals shows that the solar market truly is taking off.

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In The New York Times last week, I wrote about how Yingli, the Chinese solar module maker, is heading east after capturing nearly a third of the California market last year:

Yingli, the Chinese solar module maker that captured nearly a third of the California market last year, has struck a deal to supply a New Jersey developer with more than 10 megawatts of photovoltaic panels.

The agreement announced Tuesday with SunDurance Energy for the first time brings  Yingli’s reach to the East Coast. SunDurance, owned by a construction and engineering firm, the Conti Group, will install the Yingli solar panels on rooftops, in carports and in ground-mounted solar farms.

“Being able to have a presence on both coasts and in some of the other states that are emerging is very significant for us,” Robert Petrina, the managing director for Yingli’s American operations, said.

He said Yingli shipped 15 megawatts of modules in the fourth quarter of 2009 in the United States. The deal with SunDurance calls for Yingli to provide 10 megawatts through the third quarter of this year. The company had previously supplied solar panels to SunDurance for other projects.

Yingli, based 100 miles south of Beijing in the city of Baoding, opened offices in New York and San Francisco at the beginning of 2009. By year’s end, the company held 27 percent of the California market, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research and consulting firm. Its stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Chinese firms, including the Yingli rival Suntech, increased their share of the California market to 46 percent, up from 21 percent at the beginning of 2009.

Mr. Petrina said declines in the price of polysilicon — a vital ingredient in solar cells — and in subsidies paid by European countries made it feasible for Yingli to enter the American market.

You can read the rest of the story here.

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In The New York Times on Thursday, I write about a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance that shows China has become the dominant solar module supplier in the huge California market:

China’s rise as a major solar module maker has been meteoric, but perhaps nowhere has its ascension been faster than in California, the United States’ largest solar market.

The Chinese company Yingli Solar has captured 27 percent of California’s solar market, according to a preliminary report.
Over the last three years, China’s share of the California market, in terms of supplied megawatts, has risen to 46 percent, from 2 percent, according to a preliminary report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research and consulting firm.

At the same time, the share supplied in California by American companies has declined to 16 percent, from 43 percent.

“The ascendancy of Chinese manufacturers would be noteworthy regardless of market conditions, but is particularly telling in a time when purse-strings are still tight,” the report said.

At the beginning of 2009, Chinese solar companies supplied 21 percent of the market; by year’s end their stake had more than doubled.

You can read the rest of the story here.

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