In an effort to counter anti-dumping duties in both the EU and the US, Yingli Green Energy is considering both outsourcing module production in the regions as well as possible joint venture manufacturing partnerships.
Yingli Green management told financial analysts during a conference call to discuss first quarter results that the company had drawn up several potential business strategies to overcome any duties imposed due to the European Commission’s investigation into Chinese PV product dumping within the EU.
Responding to analyst questions on Yingli Green's future strategy – should duties be imposed in the EU – Darren Thompson, managing director of YGE International said the company had developed plans but would wait until full declaration of duties was made before deciding “which button to press”.
However, management revealed the company was restricted in selling and therefore expanding its ‘Panda’ cell and module technology beyond 10% of annual revenue due to duties on Chinese solar cells in the US. This would be aggravated by any duties imposed in the EU as management noted that the Panda technology was primarily used for residential rooftop applications due to its higher efficiencies.
Yingli Green is a major supplier to the likes of SunCity in the US and the largest supplier of modules into the predominantly residential rooftop market in Europe.
The company had already made previous plans to build a manufacturing plant in the US but the plans were put on hold when the industry went into massive overcapacity in 2011.
Management also noted in the call that although production costs would be higher than those in China, higher ASPs would negate the pressure on margins, should the company decide to either outsource or partner in production or both.
Further confirmation of the serious consideration Yingli Green is giving to the idea of production outside China was management's unwillingness to confirm capital expenditure figures for the year, citing the uncertainty over EU anti-dumping duties.
So far, only ReneSola and China Sunergy (CSUN) have officially announced plans to counter duties in the EU. ReneSola has taken the outsourcing route, while CSUN has partnered in cell and module production in Turkey.