In reporting record quarterly growth late last week, Yingli Green executives highlighted in a conference call with financial analysts that the company was at full production capacity utilization in the quarter and was unable to meet the current demand for solar modules, especially within Germany. Yingli noted that customers were looking at air freighting modules rather than shipping to beat FiT changes from the beginning of next year. Yingli expects strong demand for module from Germany through 2010 as there is a threat of larger FiT price reductions starting in 2011.
Yingli executives said that production reached close to 500MW in the quarter and due to forward
bookings would remain at that level through first- quarter 2010. Yingli has not yet announced any further capacity expansions plans for 2010 in China, where it benefits from having polysilicon through module production at one site. Yingli has a nameplate capacity of 600MW for 2009.
Yingli Chairman/CEO Liansheng Miao noted through a translator during the conference call that “Shipments increased to more than 80% quarter-over-quarter, enabling us once again to post quarterly shipment growth about 70%.”
For the fourth quarter, Yingli expects close to 60% of modules to be shipped to Germany and 20% to other South European countries, including Italy, while the rest will be distributed to the U.S. and Southeast Asia and China.
Yingli executives also noted that further capacity increases in the near term would come from improved yields and operational efficiency gains to boost MW capacity.
“In the fourth quarter, we would currently expect a flattish shipments from the third-quarter level, because of the capacity constrain,” noted Bryan Li, CFO of Yingli Green. “As we are gaining extra operational efficiency from the existing capacity and also we are continuously improving the cell conversion efficiency rates quarter-over-quarter… Then we should be able to produce more from the fourth-quarter level, even without adding any extra capacity.”
On the cell efficiency front, Miao also noted that its Project PANDA had achieved first-phase target ahead of schedule, producing next-generation cells with an average conversion efficiency rate of 18% or more on its pilot production line.
However, Yingli did say that the company was in negotiations with a few different locations in the U.S. to establish its first module assembly plant in the country and expects production could start by the end of 2010.
Suntech, the largest module producer in China, announced today that it has selected Phoenix, Arizona, as the location for its first module plant in the U.S., although the company has yet to decide the exact location.
Finally, Yingli highlighted that its in-house polysilicon manufacturing plant, Fine Silicon, is set to begin trial production in December 2009.