Yingli Solar shipped 3.2 GW of PV modules in 2013

Fourth quarter and full year 2013 financial results published today by China’s Yingli Solar have revealed that the company increased its module shipments by 40.8% in 2013, maintaining its position as the world’s largest supplier of PV modules for the second year running.

Yet despite shipping more than 3.2 GW of PV modules, 2013 saw the solar company suffer an operating loss of $98.1 million, running at an operating margin of negative 16%, with net loss reaching $128.2 million.

However, the end-of-year picture for 2013 was far rosier than in 2012. Overall gross profit for the year hit $241 million – an impressive upturn on the previous 12 months, when the company posted a gross loss of approximately $65 million at the end of 2012. Gross margin for the year was 10.9%; another significant improvement on 2012’s negative 3.2%.

With more than 3 GW of shipments under its belt, Yingli Solar’s chairman and CEO, Liansheng Miao, had every right to be upbeat. "In light of robust demand from China, the U.S., Japan and other markets, our shipments in the fourth quarter [of 2013] increased by approximately 11% quarter-over-quarter, which drives our shipments for full year 2013 to exceed 3.2 GW," he said. "We are delighted to be the world’s largest PV module supplier for the second consecutive year with a diversified market composition."

In solidifying its position in the world’s leading markets thanks to strong demand from China, Japan and the U.S., Yingli Solar was able to dedicate more attention and resources to developing its presence in some of the less heralded markets, winning 258 MW of projects in Algeria and achieving significant gains in South America and sub-Saharan Africa.

2014 holds promise

Miao added that 2014 is shaping up to be another record-breaking year for the company, with early forecasts predicting annual module shipments to be between 4 GW – 4.2 GW, with the Chinese market accounting for the lion’s share of that figure. "Currently we have approximately 1 GW of PV projects under different approval stages covering more than ten provinces in China," said the CEO.

Beyond China, Yingli Solar has a pipeline of 200 MW of utility-scale downstream projects currently in the pipeline, and expects to complete the construction of 30 to 50 MW in 2014.

In the U.S., the company grew its no-utility segment by 22% in the fourth quarter of 2013, and become the leading module supplier to Germany, shipping twice as many modules to the country as the nearest competitor. Elsewhere, Yingli’s products were sold in approximately 50 non-traditional markets, with shipment volumes in these emerging countries growing by more than 600% on 2012.

In Latin America alone the company saw total sales volume increase by 114% in the final quarter of the year, and the distribution segment swell by 200% in the space of a year.