Yingli Green Energy has signed a joint venture agreement to develop and construct solar power plants with China’s third largest state-owned coal mining company, Datong Coal Mine Group.

Yingli Green subsidiary Yingli China and Datong Coal Mine Group subsidiary Shuozhou Coal Power signed the agreement, which paves the way for the companies to develop and construct plants in Shuozhou City, in the province of Shanxi, northern China.

Yingli Green Energy chairman and chief executive officer Linsheng Miao said that signing the JV agreement gave Yingli a “strategic avenue” to expand its domestic downstream business.

“By leveraging advantages of both companies, we will be able to accelerate the project development and bring significant benefits to all parties involved," Miao said.

Shuozhou Coal Power chairman Chengshen Li was also appointed chairman of the JV. He said that it would help meet China’s national targets for renewable energy generation as well as echoing “the national target for the building of a beautiful China”. Li also said that the signing of the JV to develop PV plants was in line with parent company Datong’s sustainable development strategy.

The two subsidiary companies have previously worked together on a 20MW photovoltaic (PV) project in Shanxi. Yingli acted as engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) partner and also supplied modules for the project.

Yingli Green Energy recently signed an agreement to sell 300MW of PV plants in China, to be completed between 2013 and 2015, to project developer China Merchants New Energy (CMNE). Under the terms of the agreement, Yingli Green and CMNE will also jointly invest in PV projects outside China.

Last month, Yingli Green also won the contract to develop 233MW of solar plants in Algeria, after creating a partnership with two hydroelectric and windpower firms.