Yingli Solar

Yingli Solar-BrochurePowering Africa & The World

When it comes to solar energy provision and manufacturing, Yingli Solar is undoubtabley
the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer and a global solar energy industry leader. With over 20 offices in countries around the globe, Yingli Solar has customers all over the globe and with their efficient customer service record backed by global production capabilities and experience.

In the African market Yingli Solar Africa is both an emerging and strategic market to approach. The Managing Director Christopher Steinbach, talks about how the company has been actively engaged in the South Africa before the Country won the bid to host in 2010.

The move was Strategic, in the sense that the company wanted to invest in the country setting up a legal entity that would be research and understand the market in order to gain further ground in Southern and Sub-Saharan Africa, using South Africa as a springboard.

Renewable energy is fast becoming of great interest in the world, it is also making its way to Africa and growing steadily. Yingli Solar recognizes the continent’s lack of reliable energy sources, therefore enabling  Yingli to be part of the change that will give people access to clean green energy.

Though the market for renewable energy sources and products are relatively saturated, South Africa and Africa is less so says Steinbach, due to lack of policy encouraging Commercial PV installations and a lack of understanding of the benefits and working of PV technology.

The key to differentiating themselves is through their customer services provision and having the right networks in place that are fundamental to unlocking the doors to the decision makers says Steinbach.

Aside from that, Yingli has a world-class product that is certified, qualified and exceptionally bankable. Combining these two elements, Yingli works together with their  customers to make their lives easier where possible.

Listening to our Customers

When it comes to forming good relationships with customers, the key is the ease of doing business says Steinbach, “Listening to our customers, engaging with them is incredibly important”.

South Africa’s renewables market is still in its infancy, so there are huge barriers in terms of government policy, a lack of education, accessibility and financing. Yingli aims to make the lives of their clients easier, supporting the bigger risks and ensuring that their product is always readily available. The crucial factor here is just to listen says Steinbach, understand and adapt to meet those needs.

At present, outside the SA REIPPPP program, the company’s biggest clients are in the commercial and industrial sector, where they see Yingli’s product and offerings matching their needs. Solar PV can help many of these businesses reduce their energy consumption from 30-60% (or more) says Steinbach.

Another major driver is the need for energy security which is also present in the residential market, this will be a major push in favour of PV technology in the future says Steinbach.

A Corporate Family

The key to differentiating themselves is through their customer services provision and having the right networks in place that are fundamental to unlocking the doors to the decision makers says Steinbach.

Aside from that, Yingli has a world-class product that is certified, qualified and exceptionally bankable. Combining these two elements, Yingli works together with their customers to make their lives easier where possible.

With countless critics of PV technology, many ask why use this technology versus another? Steinbach touches on a few points, from efficiency to dropping costs. Firstly, PV is a great technology for businesses because it provides energy at peak business hours, even if it needs support, it is adaptable and can be hybridized with other sources of energy such as wind, coal or diesel.

Besides the cost benefit, the energy source can be rolled out relatively quickly and is reliable. PV technology, with or without grid infrastructure power can be rolled out in a matter of months compared to hydro stations or coal stations, which can take years, and require extensive infrastructure. “To sum it all up, choosing PV is quite simple because it is versatile, reliable and quick”, says Steinbach.

A Bright Future

Though the industry as a whole is facing a number of challenges that include a lack of supporting policy, financing for the initial capital investment, Yingli is hoping to counter it by putting on emphasis on knowledge transfer and awareness.

As of now, the company is very excited for the future; within the next year or so, the South African market will unlock policies and see a big growth in the local market as well as neighbouring countries where there is already a strong movement says Steinbach.

Hopefully, with more understanding of the technology and more financial support in place, the region will see a number of exciting projects taking shape on the African continent, with Yingli Solar playing a critical role in several of them, supplying, Affordable Green Energy for All!