United PV considering Yingli debt assistance

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Hong Kong-based solar company United PV has revealed in an interview to Bloomberg that it is exploring the possibility of offering a lifeline to fellow state-run Chinese solar firm Yingli Green Energy, which revealed this week hefty debt burdens that wiped one-third of its value from the stock market.

United Photovoltaics Group’s CEO Alan Li remarked that the company may be willing to cooperate with other state-backed firms or solar companies to help Yingli "pull through" after a chastening week.

In 2014 the two companies collaborated on a 300 MW deal that will see Yingli develop solar plants across China between now and 2016. Having revealed in a SEC Filing the true extent of its short-term debts over the weekend, Yingli lost more than 40% of its value in New York trading on Monday and Tuesday, before a slight recovery on Wednesday.

Analysts had debated whether Yingli was in fact not "too big to fail" after all, but United PV’s interest in lending a hand would appear that it is in the vested interests of most of China’s big solar players to see the company pull through.

Yingli is currently on the search for investors in order to stave off insolvency, and despite posting consecutive losses ever since Q2 2011, the world’s second-largest solar panel maker remains a viable proposition.

Trina Solar, the world’s largest provider of solar panels, appears to have pulled clear of the recent PV slump, posting positive figures this week, and serves as proof that China’s Tier 1 heavyweights can recover from the downward pricing trend that has seen panel prices fall 67% on 2010 levels.

"Manufacturers don’t have excessive profits as before," United PV’s Li told Bloomberg. Despite the Chinese government announcing a solar installation target of 17.8 GW this year, their support of the solar industry has proven intermittent so far in 2015, with President Xi Jinping urging authorities to eliminate outdated capacity and pushing for more restructuring and mergers throughout an industry that has become a little bloated.

United PV on the offensive

Having recently secured a 930 MW investment framework deal from Hareon Solar, United PV has pledged to invest a further $1.5 billion in solar PV over the remainder of the year, and is seeking to acquire 1 GW of solar projects. The company will also build its own solar PV plants in China before the year is out, and aims to build 30% of its future PV portfolio from here on in.

At the end of 2014, United PV had 572 MW of solar PV under its belt, and is also considering purchasing further large-scale solar projects in Europe and the U.S., the CEO confirmed.