Friday, May 15, 2009

ReneSola gets gov't OK for rooftop solar plan

Associated Press, 05.13.09

Chinese solar wafer maker ReneSola Ltd. said Wednesday it has received government approval to build a solar rooftop project in China's Zhejiang province.

The five megawatt building integrated photovoltaic rooftop project has a total planned area of 80,400 square meters on several government buildings in the province. It is subject to final approval by two government organizations.

The project will cost about $23.4 million and will be partially funded through a government subsidy.

China's Suntech to set up U.S. factory

Mon May 11, 2009

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Chinese solar panel maker Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd on Monday said it plans to establish a manufacturing facility in the United States, though it has yet to choose a location.

The company said it is exploring opportunities in several states as it seeks to expand its presence in the U.S. solar market. It plans to make a decision on the location in the next six months.

Suntech Chief Executive Zhenrong Shi said in a statement that strong growth in solar demand from U.S. utilities and federal incentives for solar power had helped lead to the company's decision to set up a U.S. production plant.

With Monday's announcement, Suntech joins a growing list of overseas renewable energy companies who are setting up production plants in the United States.

Suntech Announces Additional Repurchase of $150.4 Million 2012 Convertible Senior Notes

SAN FRANCISCO and WUXI, China, May 8, 2009 /PRNewswire-Asia via COMTEX/ -- Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., the world's largest manufacturer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules, today announced that in the first quarter of 2009, Suntech re-purchased $150.4 million aggregate principal amount of its 0.25% convertible senior notes due 2012 for a total cash consideration of $129.9 million. As of May 8, 2009, Suntech had $255.8 million principal amount of its 2012 convertible senior notes outstanding.

Suntech may from time to time seek to make additional repurchases of its convertible senior notes. Such repurchases, if any, will depend on prevailing market conditions, our liquidity requirements and other factors.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Suntech Joins Solar Panel Recycling Program

While the serviceable life of most solar panels is at least a couple of decades and some solar panel installations commissioned in the 1970's are still functioning today; at some stage in the time ahead a flood of panels will need to be disposed of - and preferably recycled.

Solar panels are essentially simple devices containing materials such as silicon, glass, aluminium and semiconductor materials that are all recyclable. Only a very small percentage of a solar panel's weight need ever be totally discarded. Recycling of solar panels is not only technically and economically feasible, but it could greatly decrease the overall ecological footprint associated with production

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (stock: STP) the world's largest manufacturer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules, announced recently that the company has joined PV Cycle; a European association establishing a voluntary take-back and recycling program for solar panels. Suntech said that with 1GW of Suntech solar panels sold since its inception, the company believes it is essential that Suntech take a proactive role in developing effective recycling programs.

Through PV Cycle, the solar panel industry aims to develop overall waste management and recycling policy that achieves the highest economically feasible and environmentally responsible collection and recycling of PV modules. PV Cycle now covers around 80% of the European photovoltaic market with its 35 member companies spread around the world.

While PV Cycle is only covering the European market at present and no similar organisation yet exists in Australia, PV Cycle's efforts will certainly lay the groundwork that other regions will be able to follow.

China SDIC Huajing plans $293 mln solar project

SHANGHAI, May 7 (Reuters) - China SDIC Huajing Power Holdings Co (600886.SS) said on Thursday it plans to build a solar power station with a capacity of 200 megawatts and an initial investment of 2 billion yuan ($293.2 million).

The first phase of the the project, to be located in the western province of Qinghai, would have a capacity of 100 megawatt, the company said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

The company, a unit of the State Development and Investment Corp, said the plan would need approval from state authorities.

Beijing is expected to increase the target for solar power for 2020 at least fourfold, as part of a stimulus plan for the renewable energy industry.

Trina Solar Expands European Sales and Marketing Team

CHANGZHOU, China, May 6 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ -- Trina Solar Limited (NYSE: TSL) ("Trina Solar" or the "Company"), a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, today announced that the Company has expanded its European sales and marketing team.

Due to the continued development of its business initiatives in Europe and the growing demand for Trina Solar's quality products in over 18 countries, the Company has expanded its Sales and Marketing team to better serve the established markets of Germany, Italy, France, and Spain, as well as the emerging markets such as the Czech Republic, Portugal, the Netherlands, Austria, and Greece. The Company is pleased to announce two new appointments, who joined the Company's strong sales team in April 2009.

Ben Hill, formerly at BP Solar, has joined Trina Solar as Director of Sales & Marketing for Europe. Mr. Hill is a well-known and respected industry leader with over 23 years of experience in the photovoltaic industry. Prior to joining Trina Solar, he spent over 10 years at BP Solar, serving in both Germany and Spain and in various senior positions including Sales & Marketing Director for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and most recently, as a Regional Director for Europe. Prior to BP Solar, he served as a Division Manager for Battery Control, DC Lighting and Solar at Sollatek Ltd. Mr. Hill will manage Trina Solar's operations in Europe and will refine and implement the Company's ambitious regional growth plans.

Daniel Priem has joined Trina Solar as Central European Manager. Mr. Priem has over 10 years of experience in solar and other renewable energies. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Priem spent over seven years at SunTechnics, a Conergy Group company, as a sales representative for Central Europe, manager of SunTechnics (Sydney), sales head for Southeast Asia and Australia, and finally as Conergy Group's commercial manager for Southern Europe. Mr. Priem also served as the business development manager for Innovative Windpower AG.

"We view Europe as an essential market region that includes key markets under current development," said Arturo Herrero, Trina Solar's Vice President of Sales & Marketing, who oversees Trina Solar's global sales and marketing. "We are delighted to strengthen our sales and marketing team with such talented and experienced personnel who bring years of regional and global knowledge and experience from well-known PV solar companies to our business."

China to have 100 GW wind power capacity by 2020

Beijing, May 4 (Xinhua) - China plans to finish 100 gigawatts of wind power capacity and expand its renewable energy consumption to 40 per cent of the energy market by 2050.

The goal for wind power capacity was more than three times of the 30 gigawatts target that the government set 18 months ago, Monday's China Daily reported.

China will also become the biggest growth market for wind power generating capacity this year, ahead of the United States, said the report, citing a forecast from the Global Wind Energy Council(GWEC).

As the world's second largest energy consumer, China has around 12 gigawatts of wind power capacity and has said it wants to raise that to around 20 gigawatts by next year.

The plan means wind will be a bigger source of renewable energy than nuclear, despite a construction boom in nuclear power plants, and also far bigger than solar, which is expected to hit 1.8 gigawatts, according to a 2007 plan.

The annual growth rate in China's wind power will be around 20 per cent, said Fang Junshi, head of the coal department of the National Energy Administration.

China is currently the fourth largest wind power producer in the world after the United States, Germany and Spain.

The World Wind Energy Report 2008 had predicted that Asia, under China's lead, will "become the worldwide locomotive for the wind industry" and "Chinese wind turbine manufacturers will be among the top international suppliers".

CSI Reaches Funding Deal with City of Suzhou; Signs 5-MW Contract with Topinfrasolar

Toronto, Canada []

Canadian Solar Inc. announced that it has signed an agreement with the Suzhou New District, Suzhou municipal government to fund local solar projects. The Suzhou New District government has agreed to provide US $1.09 million in matching funds in conjunction with the subsidies provided by China's Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Constructions for building PV installations.

"These funds will be used to capitalize commercial rooftop and BIPV projects in the region of the municipality."

-- Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and CEO, Canadian Solar

These monies will be used to exclusively support solar projects undertaken by Canadian Solar in Suzhou New District. Other sources of project debt or equity will be arranged by the company or by the project owners.

"Canadian Solar is proud to announce, in cooperation with the Suzhou New District, that we are the first to jointly develop a municipal PV program using the renewable energy stimulus funds in China. These funds will be used to capitalize commercial rooftop and BIPV projects in the region of the municipality,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar.

In related news, CSI has also announced that it has signed a new sales agreement with Topinfrasolar, a Korean systems integrator, which will expand the relationship and supply agreement by an additional 5 megawatts (MW).
The contracted deliveries may include both regular and e-Modules and stipulates deliveries for Korean installations in 2009. CSI and Topinfrasolar have had a successful business relationship since the beginning of 2009 that has already resulted in the successful delivery to five projects of approximately 3 MW in total.

"We are also very pleased to work with Canadian Solar, one of the world class suppliers of solar photovoltaic panels. We have so far implemented several solar farm projects in Korea using Canadian Solar modules and we are impressed by their consistently superior module quality. With this new contract, we look forward to continuing our relationship with Canadian Solar and to offering long-term reliable returns to our solar farm investors," said Hyung Seok Oh, CEO of Topinfrasolar.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Evergreen Solar shifts manufacturing future to China, targets US$1/W in 2012

01 May 2009 | By Mark Osborne

String Ribbon solar cell manufacturer Evergreen Solar is planning future expansions in China, with the aim of reaching a manufacturing cost of US$1 per watt by the end of 2012. The aggressive goal is in tandem with ramping a new plant in China to 500MW in that time frame. This is being planned with another PV manufacturer, Jiawei Solar (Wuhan) Co., and the Wuhan Donghu New Technology Development Zone Management Committee, part of the Wuhan provincial government in Wuhan, China.

Rather than a joint venture, Jiawei will process String Ribbon wafers into Evergreen Solar-branded panels on a subcontract basis as part of a frame agreement. The structure of the agreement will see Evergreen Solar reimburse Jiawei for its cell and panel production costs, plus subcontractor commission fee. The price paid to Jiawei is to be negotiated on an annual basis.

Interestingly, Terry Bailey, Evergreen Solar’s sales and marketing VP, while answering a question from a financial analyst during the company's first-quarter conference call, conceded that legal restrictions had been in place with Q-Cells and other partners in String Ribbon licensee Sovello over a joint venture agreement.

“We are starting our own factory in China, and we are using a subcontractor in China. So, the minor prohibition that existed under our Sovello agreement does not exist here,” said Bailey.

Apparently, Q-Cells would have had first refusal to partner with Evergreen in such a joint venture, under a 30-day response mechanism.

The Wuhan government is expected to guarantee the financing required from banks and other potential lending agencies in China as well as provide yet-to-be-revealed incentives for locating the operation in the province.

“With the support of the Wuhan Management Committee, we will seek financing for about two-thirds of the total cost, reducing our portion of initial capital required to between US$15 million and US$20 million,” noted Richard M. Feldt, chairman/CEO/president of Evergreen Solar, during the conference call. “So, put another way, we'll effectively expand our wafer cell and panel capacity by 100MW for between US$15 million and US$20 million of incremental cash.”

Jiawei Solar moved into its newly expanded 60,000 sq-metre complex in August 2008, with the plant having a module capacity of 35MW and two cell lines of 25MW capacity. Plans had been to increase capacity to 245MW under its third phase of expansion, requiring more construction.

Initial capacity for the Evergreen String Ribbon plant is expected to be approximately 100MW and reach about 500MW by 2012. However, the timing and scale of the planned expansions will be finalised in 2010. Final contractual agreements were close to being signed, though a minor delay within the Wuhan government was noted by Feldt. Evergreen Solar expects all the necessary arrangements, including finance, to be sorted in the next 90 days.

However, sealing the deal may be a minor glitch, since financing the new plant while maintaining liquidity for its other operations over the coming quarters could become more difficult.

By any measure, Evergreen Solar has had a challenging first quarter. Aside from the legal proceedings ongoing with the collapse of Lehmann Brothers bank, Evergreen declared a non-cash charge of US$43.9 million against a deposit given to a polysilicon start-up in France, Silicium de Provence, which went into voluntary bankruptcy in early April. Other charges generated a cash burn-rate of nearly US$100 million in the quarter.

With the required short-term up-front investment needed for the China project, Evergreen Solar is planning to raise an additional US$100 million for operations and near-term liquidity flexibility in the next few months.

It was quite clear from the conference call that its new Devens production site would continue to ramp to full capacity and become the key facility to meet U.S, market demand, where applicable. That turned out to mean that price sensitivity was not an issue, particularly domestic rooftop-type installations.

However, for larger-scale industrial/commercial and utility scale projects in the future, Evergreen Solar expects to be able to leverage the lower base production costs from China to meet and competitively compete for that business, especially against thin-film technologies.

It seems that Evergreen Solar is directing its future success and growth from Wuhan, since that location will become its lowest cost manufacturing base, and in a very short time.

Sunny Hill Energy signs 55MW two-year module deal with Ningbo Solar Electric

01 May 2009

By Mark Osborne

Sunny Hill Energy, a U.S. solar financing and business support company, has signed a 55MW two-year module deal with Ningbo Solar Electric, China. Sunny Hill said that it had an estimated project pipeline of 50MW over the coming 12 months for residential and PPA-based markets.

"We're excited to have found the ideal solar panel solution for our residential and investment-grade projects," said Dorian Maras, CSO for Sunny Hill Energy. "NBSolar’s large European presence and 40-year history in solar technology manufacturing won us over. Additionally, we found great synergy between NBSolar's desire to enter the US market and our ability to develop it."

Ningbo Solar Electric produces monocrystalline-based modules.

Spanish firm to set up Si metal plant in Sichuan

Friday, 01 May 2009

It is reported that Grupo Villar Mir has signed an agreement with Sichuan Kangding Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture government on April 29th that Grupo Villar Mir's subsidiary Ferroatlantica Company will totally invest EUR 820 million to build the global largest silicon metal plant in Kangding Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, a southwest province in China.

Mr Juan Miguel Villar Mir president of Grupo Villar Mir said the plant will start construction in this September and finish in 2013. It will churn out 100,000 tonnes of chemical grade silicon metal and 50,000 tonnes of Solar Grade Silicon every year when it is on stream.

Mr Juan Miguel Villar Mir added that this new plant is designed with the most advanced technology, and all the solid, liquid and gaseous products will be transported by seal pipe, so the plant will not pollute atmosphere and environment.

Ferroatlantica Company is the largest silicon metal producer in the world.