If you thought Chinese solar panel manufacturers will lay low after the huge scandal that banned them from selling their products across Europe and the U.S., you would be very wrong. In fact, the biggest Chinese maker is going public and investing huge amounts of money in advertising and sponsoring the world’s largest sports event- The Football World Cup in Brazil.
Yingli, the Chinese-based solar panels manufacturer, which is, surprisingly to some, the world’s largest solar company is aiming big, gaining popularity among the highly promising and not yet concurred by the solar giants countries in South America.
The reason why solar is not so popular in many countries across the Latin continent, is simply hidden in the costs. Yes, there is plenty of sunshine, the costs of electricity are very high, and there are numerous villages that are not connected to the grid and struggle to get energy for their basic needs. However, the thousands of dollars worth of investments in purchasing and installing panels, together with the long time before the customer can start seeing the benefits, turn solar into a far-away dream.
But this is where Yingli sees a new market for their products. As many of us are aware, Chinese-made solar panels are a lot cheaper than any other. Despite the fact that Yingli denies that they have received any illegal subsidies from the government, their products cost peanuts compared to what the U.S. and Europe have to offer. In this respect, Latin America, with its huge demand and the introduction of “net-metering” in Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and soon Chile, looks like the dream target for the Chinese makers.
For those, who are not familiar with Yingli, this is the company that currently produces around 80% of the world’s solar panels. With prices that are almost impossible to compete with, the U.S. and European producers cannot even try to top this up. Legal or not, the subsidies that the Chinese government has given to the makers does allow citizens of poor regions around the world to finally be able to afford solar. Now I only wonder, why does China try to overtake everyone, and at the same time the solar panels installed on its territory account for only 2% of all solar panels around the world?
Image (c) Reuters