Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Polysilicon spot prices skyrocket as China PV cell makers scramble for supply

Nuying Huang, Taipei; Rodney Chan, DIGITIMES [Tuesday 11 December 2007]

Polysilicon prices in the spot market have broken the US$400-per-kilogram mark as photovoltaic cell makers from China are scrambling to stock material, according to industry sources.

The sources claimed that only players from the PV industry in China have been willing to pay such high prices, while many of their Taiwan competitors think the high costs would definitely translate into inevitable losses.

Chin-Yao Tsai, general manager of Taiwan-based PV cell maker E-ton Solar Tech, confirmed that spot prices for polysilicon have skyrocketed to US$400 per kilogram. He speculated that buyers that are willing to pay such high prices must be coming under pressure from their increased capacity, anticipating further rises in solar grade prices, or trying to boost sales to facilitate their listing plans.

The industry-wide material shortage has been driving prices up. The sources disclosed that two Taiwan-based PV cell makers and one China-based competitor have recently bought scrap wafers for US$300 per kilogram.

Currently chief suppliers of polysilicon include Hemlock, Wacker, Renewable Energy Corporation (REC), MEMC Electronic Materials, Tokuyama, and Sumitomo. Only three of them may regularly sell polysilicon in the spot market, the sources said.

According to the industry sources, polysilicon spot prices reached US$280 per kilogram in the third quarter of 2006, and US$300 the next quarter. Prices remained at US$300-330 in the first half of 2007, with many makers thinking there would be little chance for the prices to go up further sharply.

But demand turned even stronger in the third quarter with more PV cell capacity being ramped up. Prices went up to US$340 per kilogram in the third quarter, to US$360-370 in early fourth quarter, and to US$400 in December.

Qiangsheng to invest $400 million for thin film solar cell production

By Chen Qide (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-12-11 09:40

Nantong in northern Jiangsu Province is set to become one of China's key thin-film amorphous silicon solar cell manufacturing bases after Nantong Qiangsheng Photovoltaic Technology Co Ltd (QS Solar) announced it had launched a $400 million project.

A senior company manager said yesterday that the project, China's largest of its kind, will be carried out in three phases within three years.

The first phase, which consists of three sets of 25 MW production facilities, will see the first set put into operation by mid-January of 2008, Sha Xiaolin, chairman of QS Solar, said.

Sha said the company invested $25 million importing the world's most sophisticated production line from the United States to manufacture 25 MW solar panels.

The other two, which could cost up to $40 million, will be installed next year through risk investment from overseas financial institutions, he said.

Sha said QS Solar planned to list in the US by the end of next year to collect funds for more production facilities.

"We aim to raise funds of $200 million from the US securities market to finance nine 25 MW production lines, which will be installed by 2009," he said.

QS Solar has signed agreements with some foreign banks for funds, but Sha gave no details.

But he said there is "no problem for funds", because the production of thin-film amorphous silicon solar cells was a promising industry.

A company source said the 12 facilities will have the capacity to produce 300 thin-film amorphous silicon photovoltaic solar panels by 2009.

QS Solar plans to increase its production lines up to 20 by 2010 to have a capacity of producing 500 MW thin-film amorphous solar cells. The investment will reach $400 million.

Since 2000, China has witnessed rapid development of its photovoltaic industry, which produced 450 MW solar cells in 2006. The output is expected to increase by 50 percent by the end of 2007.

A report from the United Nations Environment Program said China had the capacity to produce 3,000 MW solar cells, ranking first in the world.

But 95 percent are polycrystalline silicon solar cells and exported overseas because domestic users cannot afford the high price, Sha said.

QS Solar will have a capacity to produce 500 MW solar cells by 2010 with the price will drop from 4 yuan per kWh to 1 yuan.

Yingli Offering Prices at $31 Per ADS

Associated Press | December 11, 2007

Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. on Tuesday said its offering of 5.6 million American Depositary shares priced at $31 apiece.

The Chinese solar wafer maker also said its $150 million offering of convertible senior notes due 2012 priced at about 23 U.S.-listed shares per $1,000. That represents a conversion price of about $43.40 per share.

The company has granted its underwriters an option to buy up to an additional $22.5 million worth of notes and 840,000 shares to cover any over-allotments.

Yingli plans to use proceeds from the offerings to pay for additional manufacturing capacity and other corporate purposes.

Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. are serving as joint bookrunners for the offerings, while Piper Jaffray & Co. is serving as co-manager.

Each ADS represents one ordinary share, Yingli said.

Yingli ADS fell $1.56, or 4.6 percent, to $32.04 in morning trading.