Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Suntech's Seven Employee Injured in Production Facilities Accident

On November 28, 2008, seven Suntech employees were injured as a result of an accident that occurred due to the malfunction of a piece of module lamination equipment at Suntech Power's PV module facilities in Wuxi, China. The seven injured employees are receiving further medical treatment and are recovering in hospital.

China's solar energy industry was suffering the cold winter, and this further lowered the temperature.

To be frank, the working condition at many Chinese PV manufacturers are not good at all, and the employees working at the production lines are poorly paid.

Air Products Signs Contract with China's Best Solar

LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. (December 2, 2008) - Air Products (NYSE:APD) today announced it has signed a turnkey gas supply contract to provide on-site gases, liquid bulk gases, specialty gases and gas equipment to China's Best Solar Hi Tech Co., Ltd, which is building a new thin-film photovoltaic (PV) facility in the Wuzhong Economic Development Park in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. When the facility comes on-stream at its full capacity, it will have an annual solar module manufacturing capacity of 330MW.

The contract between Air Products and Best Solar includes the long-term supply of hydrogen, nitrogen and argon, and specialty gases such as silane, nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and dopant gases. Air Products will also install and manage the bulk gas and specialty gas supply systems.

"We are proud to have Best Solar's confidence in our supply capabilities for what will be one of the world's largest thin-film photovoltaic production facilities," said Corning Painter, vice president and general manager, Global Electronics, Air Products. "Our leadership position in the supply and delivery of the key materials for the PV market makes Air Products the safe and reliable choice for the growing PV industry."

Best Solar's thin-film PV modules, which convert sunlight directly into electricity, will be manufactured in much the same way as thin-film transistor-liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD). As one of the largest suppliers to the TFT-LCD industry, Air Products is ideally suited to supply the new facility. This contract marks Air Products' largest investment in the burgeoning thin-film photovoltaic industry and complements its existing crystalline PV offerings.

With the demand for renewable energy and improved efficiency on the rise, Air Products is well positioned to take advantage of these developing markets with its expertise and project experience in areas including large scale hydrogen supply for cleaner transportation fuels, developmental work on the hydrogen economy, hydrogen vehicle fueling and infrastructure, leading natural gas liquefaction technology and now the growing supply of gases and services for the photovoltaic industry.

Solarfun Reports Third Quarter 2008 Results

SHANGHAI, China, Dec 02, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd. ("Solarfun" or "the Company") , a vertically integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots and photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules in China, today reported its unaudited financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2008.

-- Net revenue was RMB 1,275 million (US$187.8 million), an increase of 69.1% from the third quarter of 2007, but down 5.7% from the second quarter of 2008.
-- Results were influenced by a total non-cash provision of US$16.5 million for inventory revaluation (US$12.9 million) and expected losses on pre-payments. Provisions were necessary as a result of mark-to-market inventory valuations in a period of rapidly declining raw material costs and some low-quality materials determined to be unusable, as well as supply pre-payments that were determined to be "at risk" and likely to not be recoverable.
-- PV module shipments reached 41.8 MW, representing an increase of 53% from the third quarter of 2007, and a slight decline from 43.1 MW in the second quarter of 2008. The Company's ability to meet customer demand was curtailed by lack of polysilicon material delivery.
-- Average selling price ("ASP") continued to be robust at US$4.04, but declined, as expected, from US$4.17 in the second quarter of 2008. This was primarily due to the weakening Euro against the U.S. Dollar. Business continued to be centered in Europe, with Germany and Spain accounting for 53% and 24% of net revenue in this quarter, respectively.
-- Gross profit was RMB 46.1 million (US$6.8 million), down 61.6% from RMB17.7 million in the third quarter of 2007, and also down from US$27.3 million in the second quarter of 2008.
-- Gross margin was 3.6% and was negatively impacted by the aforementioned provisions, as well as polysilicon-related material costs that continued to remain high during the quarter. Without the provisions, gross margins from normal operations would have reached 12.4%, which would have been in-line with previously expressed expectations.
-- The operating loss was RMB 25.9 million (US$3.8 million). Before provisions, operating income was RMB 86.3 million (US$12.7 million), or 6.8% of total revenues. Selling expenses were RMB 20.2 million (US$3.0 million), which was below the second quarter of 2008 due to an adjustment in accrued commission expenses.
-- Interest expense declined nearly US$1 million from the second quarter of 2008 to RMB 21.6 million (US$3.2 million) due to a reduction in outstanding bank debts and lower interest rates from refinancing.
-- The total exchange rate gain was US$0.4 million. The Company recorded a RMB 30 million (US$4.4 million) currency loss largely as a result of the impact of the declining Euro against the U.S. dollar, but was able to more than offset this through its foreign exchange hedging program, which resulted in a RMB 32.8 million (US$4.8 million) gain.
-- The net loss was RMB 44.3 million (US$6.5 million). The loss per basic ADS was RMB 0.86 or US$0.13. Before provision adjustments, net income and earnings per basic ADS would have been US$8.3 million and US$0.16, respectively.

Harold Hoskens, CEO of Solarfun, commented, "The third quarter was quite challenging in some respects. The unexpected shortfall in polysilicon material supply was certainly disappointing. This constrained our short-term ability to grow volume and fulfill customer demand. Our financial results were also impacted by the inventory and pre-payment-related provisions. We felt it necessary in view of the rapidly declining costs for polysilicon-related raw materials to adjust our inventory valuations, as well as account for any "at risk" pre-payments. Although current global economic and financial conditions remain uncertain, and we are not immune to these factors, we are maintaining a high degree of optimism in our ability to compete and grow in what we believe is undeniably a burgeoning market in the long-term as renewable energy continues to grow in acceptance. These macro conditions have impacted, and will continue to impact, the demand and pricing for photovoltaic-based solar products. However, we believe that the rapidly declining costs for polysilicon, combined with our low-cost manufacturing base, increasingly vertically integrated production process, customer loyalty and financial stability, will allow us to weather this environment and emerge as a stronger and viable long term player.


As of September 30, 2008, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of RMB 511.4 million (US$75.3 million) and working capital of RMB 2.1 billion (US$310.2 million). Total bank borrowings were RMB 1.2 billion (US$177.3 million), which was down from the previous quarter. During the quarter, the Company raised US$71.9 million in net proceeds from the sale of 5,421,093 ADSs via a sales agency agreement with Morgan Stanley & Co.

The Company continued to focus on working capital management and achieved another quarter-to-quarter reduction in days sales outstanding and inventory turnover days from 37 days and 63 days to 28 days and 58 days, respectively.

The Company spent US$16 million in capital expenditures, US$13 million for supply prepayments, and US$26 million in acquisition costs for the remaining 48% interest in Jiangsu Yangguang Solar, a silicon ingot producer.


The Company made a number of significant achievements, including:
-- Reached an agreement with Q-Cells AG, pending confirmation of both Boards and based on a previously signed letter of intent, for a three-year manufacturing services agreement for purchase by Q-Cells of 100 MW of PV modules per annum for three years beginning in early 2009. The agreement also provides for PV module technology cooperation.
-- Completed and successfully started operations of 120 MW of additional cell and module capacity. The Company's total nameplate capacity is now 360 MW.
-- Entered into an eight-year, 1.2 gigawatt contract for virgin polysilicon with GCL Silicon Technology.
-- Made significant progress towards vertical-integration, with continued expansion and increased operating volumes at its ingot and wafer slicing operations. The Company expects to end 2008 with 100 MW of wafer capacity (ingot and wire saw), and reach 250 MW by mid-2009.
-- Signed significant binding agreements with key customers, including a 47 MW contract to supply PV modules to Schuco International KG with installations targeted for the Middle East and southeast Europe, and a 30 MW contract to supply PV modules to Martifer Solar Sistemas Solares, a Portugal-based leading solar project developer, installer and producer in Europe.

The Company recognizes that the current operating environment is evolving rapidly and is less predictable than in previous periods. In light of these uncertainties and based on current operating trends and market conditions, the Company provides the following outlook:

For the fourth quarter of 2008, management expects:
-- Total 2008 shipments to be at or slightly below the low end of its previously stated guidance of 175 to 190 MW. ASPs in constant Euro terms will decline from the third quarter of 2008 by less than 5%.
-- Gross margin to improve from the third quarter of 2008, reflecting the positive impact of vertical integration, somewhat offset by the strengthening U.S. dollar.
-- Capital expenditures, supply pre-payments and further acquisition payments to be approximately US$100 million.

For the full year of 2009, management expects:
-- Shipment gains of 50%, although this will not be reflected in first quarter volumes. The Company currently has signed binding contracts with key customers totaling 150 MW. These contracts all include a commitment from the customer to provide cash or other monetary guarantees to Solarfun before the end of 2008.
-- ASP to decline 5 to 10% in constant Euro terms from the fourth quarter of 2008.
-- The relative rate of decline in ASPs to be more than offset by lower polysilicon pricing. With an increasing percentage of total wafer volume coming from the Company's in-house facilities, management believes that gross margins could reach 10 to 15%.
-- Raw material availability to be more than sufficient to meet expected demand. The Company is well positioned to take advantage of rapidly declining polysilicon prices. For 60% of the Company's polysilicon and wafer requirements, price levels will be determined based on prevailing market conditions.
-- A larger part of the Company's total wafer volume to come from in-house facilities, which should create greater opportunities for cost optimization and technical innovation.
-- Capacity expansion to be placed on hold until the demand picture becomes more clear.
-- Funding is expected to be adequate to meet 2009 anticipated spending requirements through a combination of cash on hand and access to commercial bank lines of credit. Management anticipates a return to cash flow positive during the second half of 2009.

Harold Hoskens concluded by stating, "Solarfun faces all the same near-term challenges as our competitors and our ability to predict our results with certainty is also reduced. However, we are confident that our longer-term competitive position as a low-cost converter of polysilicon will be enhanced during this period of dynamic market changes. Over the past year, we deliberately avoided signing long term polysilicon supply contracts with the belief that pricing was excessive. While the strategy was painful in the short term, we believe we are much better positioned now in this rapidly evolving environment of greater raw material supply and lower prices. Our customer traction is solid and growing, our quality is respected in the marketplace and improving, and we are prepared to profitably operate within the new industry dynamic. In the end, 2009 will prove to be a critical juncture for our industry; module supply/demand will be rationalized as players retrench from aggressive expansion plans, small or less-capitalized competitors face increasing challenges, and growth in demand in newer solar markets starts to overtake the large traditional markets in Europe. Ultimately, lower module prices will drive additional demand worldwide. We are optimistic that our low cost structure, flexible raw material purchasing program and vertical integration strategy will allow us to improve profitability and meet the near-term challenges confronting us."

CTDC, CMZD and TSG Sign Agreement to Co-develop the Xiamen Bay Solar City

HONG KONG, Dec 2, 2008 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- China Technology Development Group Corporation ("CTDC" or "the Company"), a provider of solar energy products and solutions in China focusing on a-Si thin film technology, today announced that the Company signed the Framework Agreement on Co-operation with China Merchants Zhangzhou Development Zone ("CMZD") and Terra Solar Global Inc. ("TSG"), to co-develop the Xiamen Bay Solar City ("the Solar City), about 115 acres located in CMZD, on November 21, 2008. It is aimed at jump starting the green economy in CMZD.

The Agreement was signed by Mr. Li Alan, Chairman and CEO of CTDC, Mr. Wu Bin, Executive Vice Chairman of management council of CMZD and Mr. Jack C. Chu, CEO of TSG. The Agreement clearly states the strategic targets, cooperative ways, duties and coordination mechanism of the three parties. The three parties will work closely to make the Solar City a leading thin film PV industrial park with the SnO2 TCO base plate as the pioneering sector, which is to encompass the thin film technology R&D center, thin film modules or other PV products manufacturing plants, PV applications deployed buildings as well as PV products logistics center. The Solar City will absolutely help diminish CMZD's carbon emissions and enable the Xiamen Bay to be green. Meanwhile, the leading clean and renewable energy technology is another engine to fuel its future growth and development.

Under the terms of the Agreement, the management council of CMZD will sort out the location of the Solar City and offer very favorable government policies and supporting facilities to CTDC, including land, tax, factory building, logistic service and R&D cooperation, etc. CTDC is committed to positively expanding the production capacity by adding minimum six SnO2 TCO production lines by the end of 2009. TSG also committed that they would provide cutting-edge thin film technologies and equipments to help CTDC optimize the SnO2 technology and explore more overseas market opportunities. In order to enhance the efficiency, the three parties will establish a working group to oversee and manage all day-to-day operations as to the Solar City project from signing, construction, operation to full production.

Commenting the cooperation, Li Alan, CEO of the Company, said: "We signed a MOU with TSG in October 2007 as well as a Letter of Intent with CMZD in June 2008. The signing of the Agreement marks our cooperation has entered into a new stage. We believe the strategic partnership will enable us to provide low-cost thin film PV products to the market and facilitate the widespread application of solar based technology in CMZD."

"Going solar will not only help clean up our environment, it will create job opportunities and help grow this sector of our local economy," commented by Mr. Wu Bin, Executive Vice Chairman of CMZD, "We think the Solar City project is of great importance to the development of CMZD. We will try our best to provide at large the necessary support to the project as well as help us become a national high-tech industrial park."

"We are honored to co-develop the Solar City with CTDC and CMZD," added Jack C. Chu, CEO of TSG. "With the extensive BIPV system delivery experience coupled with advanced thin-film technology over the last three decades, we are confident that our expertise will enable our strategic partners to grow in PV industry. With CTDC's extensive operation experience and NASDAQ capital platform and CMZD's strong local government support, we are all very well placed to be right partners to each other to co-develop the Solar City, which will ultimately benefit the Chinese people and Chinese economy."

About CTDC:

CTDC is a provider of solar energy products and solutions in China focusing on a-Si thin-film technology. CTDC's ultimate principal shareholder is China Merchants Group (, one of the biggest state-owned conglomerates in China.
For more information, please visit our website at


NEW YORK, NY, Dec 02, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- TGI Solar Power Group Inc. (PINKSHEETS: TSPG), a turnkey supplier of vertically integrated solar systems for a variety of applications ranging from Solar Parks (solar to grid) to commercial markets, today announced it has formed a joint venture with Hong Kong-based Oriental Energy Group Ltd. (OEG) to target China's renewable energy market, under the name SOLAR POWER CHINA CORPORATION LTD.

"TGI and OEG have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlines plans for cooperation and takes advantage of the first to market position. JV is looking to get 8 to 10 cities started simultaneously," said Ying Wang, Managing Director of the newly created joint venture. "We are in process of signing LOI for project financing with the following local governments: Shenzhen, Sanya, Liuzhou, Zhanjiang, Wenzhou, Foshan, Dongguan, Tulufan, Leting and Nanning."

The agreement also includes plans to include two manufacturing facilities of 40 MW of thin film panels utilizing Solar Thin Films, Inc. (SLTN), a developer, manufacturer and marketer of manufacturing equipment for the production of "thin-film" amorphous silicon photovoltaic modules, TGI's affiliated company.

"We are excited to be working with Oriental Energy. This project will pave the way for solar installations throughout China," said Billy Lieberman, President of TGI Solar.


TGI Solar (TSPG) is a provider of manufacturing equipment and turnkey manufacturing solutions to the photovoltaic (PV) industry. The Company's products and solutions are used for production of solar grade polysilicon, manufacturing of multi-crystalline silicon wafers, production of solar cells and assembly of complete modules. The firm provides facility and process design and integration know-how with its equipment. The Company offers its products and services to PV product manufacturers on a worldwide basis and a substantial percentage of its sales are to customers outside the United States.

Econcern to lead $1 bln China wind farm investment

LONDON, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Clean energy company Econcern will partner with China National Offshore Oil Corp and Sinohydro to invest 863 million euros ($1.09 billion) to build four Chinese wind farms, the companies said on Tuesday.

Construction of the wind farms, which will generate around 720 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, will begin in 2009, Netherlands-based Econcern said in a statement.

As atmospheric greenhouse gas levels from burning fossil fuels rise, increasing the threat of potentially devastating climate change, more companies are looking to invest in renewable sources of energy like wind and solar.

'Traditional energy suppliers focus on conventional models and solutions, but this is no longer sustainable in any sense,' Econcern Chairman Ad van Wijk said. 'Sustainable energy is the only long term viable option.'

Last month, BP Alternative Energy, a unit of oil group BP Plc, pulled out of a partnership in a 148.5 MW Chinese wind farm project, saying it had decided to suspend its wind power business in Asia.

Econcern's announcement comes on the sidelines of UN-sponsored climate talks in Poznan, Poland where governments are working towards a new treaty to fight climate change.

Many China firms gearing up for poly-Si production, but few will enter into volume production 2009, say Taiwan makers

Staff reporter, Taipei; Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES [Tuesday 2 December 2008]

Due to fast growing demand for solar cells, there have been many newly established producers of polycrystalline silicon material (poly-Si) in China and the total number has reached about 50 currently, but no more than five of them will be capable of undertaking volume production in 2009, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

This is because poly-Si makers in China have been faced with a challenging situation, the sources indicated. It is increasingly difficult for them to raise funds for capacity expansion due to the global financial crisis, the sources pointed out. In addition, fast decreasing global demand for solar cells has caused continued drops in spot market pricing of poly-Si, which has led to high inventory levels, the sources noted.

China's solar energy industry has downwardly adjusted China's 2008 target output of poly-Si from 11,000 tons originally to 3,000 tons, the sources indicated.

Funing Tehua Polysilicon Project Began Production

2008 November 30th, Tehua New Material Company successfully released their polysilicon product, and it took Tehua only 8 months to complete the polysilicon project.

The total investment is 500 million RMB, and the polysilicon production capacity is 500 metric tons per year.