Tuesday, January 13, 2009

ET Solar Announces a 13 MW Agreement with a Large German PV Product Integrator for 2009

NANJING, China, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- ET Solar Group Corp. ("ET Solar"), a Nanjing-based solar power EPC solution provider and integrated manufacturer of photovoltaic products including ingots, wafers, modules, and state-of-the-art dual-axis tracking systems with manufacturing facilities located in Taizhou, China, announced a 13 megawatts (MW) sales agreement with USE, a large German photovoltaic product integrator and distributor.

According to the signed agreement, ET Solar will deliver a total of 13MW of high-efficiency solar modules to USE between January and November 2009.

Dennis She, Vice President and Chief Sales Officer of ET Solar Group commented, "Our strategic relationship with USE dates from the second half of 2008 when we shipped a substantial module volume to our new strategic German partner. Amid a severe global economic downturn and a more challenging solar industry landscape, this 13MW agreement demonstrates the total customer satisfaction and superior product quality that we achieved in 2008 with our customers. The strong ties we share with a quality name like USE will ensure that ET Solar plays an increasingly significant role in world's largest PV market.

Arnold Berens, CEO of USE commented: "We are very pleased with the strategic relationship with ET Solar, a strong solar PV turnkey service and state-of-the-art equipment provider. Through the business relationship we have had in the past few months, we are convinced that ET Solar is the right long term business partner for us to work with given the excellence in their product quality, pre and after-sales services and business strategy."

About ET Solar

ET Solar is a Nanjing-based solar power solution provider and integrated manufacturer of photovoltaic products including ingots, wafers, modules, and state-of-the-art dual-axis tracking systems with manufacturing facilities located in Taizhou, China. Please contact Public Relations Manager, Simon Laing, for more information at simon@etsolar.com.

About Solar Distributor USE

USE is a German solar Integrator and distributor based in Holzgerlingen, close to Stuttgart. They realize turnkey large-scale systems for their customers which they also service during the operating stage. The company has additional agencies in Germany, Czech Republic and Croatia. For more information please contact Daniel Grunauer and Arnold Berens, phone +49-7031- 20492-0.

LDK Solar delays operation of polysilicon projects

BEIJING, Jan 13, 2009 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- China's wafer manufacturer LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK.NYSE) recently delayed the operation of two polysilicon projects for half a year, involving a production capacity of 6,000 tons.

So the two polysilicon projects will come into operation in the mid of 2009.

Agreements with suppliers of steel, cement and other construction materials need be re-signed when the prices have slumped, and it also takes time to re-check the polysilicon production facilities after some similar facilities in China incurred environmental protection and production accidents continuously, said Yao Feng, spokesman of LDK Solar, when talking about the delay.
It's not necessary either to hurry through the construction project now as the price of polysilicon plunged from 400 U.S. dollars per kg to 150 U.S. dollars per kg, Yao added.

According to a senior official with LDK Solar, some of its customers also asked to postpone the shipment from 2008 to 2009.

LDK Solar had planned to expand the annual production capacity of polysilicon by 6,000 tons within 2008. Included are 5,000 tons from a 15,000-t/y polysilicon project and 1,000 tons from a 1,000-t/y polysilicon project.

Now, the minor one is in trial production but not put in full operation and the bigger one is scheduled to operate in the mid of 2009.

Suntech Laid Off 10%, Factories Running at 50%-60% Capacity

The Chinese solar panel maker refutes claims made by a news story reporting that the company has carried out a massive layoff.
by: Ucilia Wang
January 12, 2009

After a Chinese news report claimed Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE: STP) was planning a massive layoff, the solar panel maker on Monday said the report was inaccurate but disclosed that it did cut 10 percent of its workforce in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Economic downturn prompted the world's largest solar panel maker to chop roughly 800 people from the payrolls, said Steve Chadima, vice president of external affairs at Suntech.

The layoffs affected mostly contract factory workers, who were let go as the company reduced its production, Chadima added. Back in Novmber, Suntech trimmed its sales forecast for 2008, blaming the weak euro and credit crunch. The company has several factories in China, and the layoffs took place at the main factory near its headquarters in Wuxi.

"We were slowing down production because of this worldwide slow down in demand for modules," Chadima said.

Suntech's investor relation staff called major investors Monday trying to correct a news report by a business daily in China that appeared on Saturday and posted on Sina.com. A research firm, JLM Pacific Epoch translated the story into English and posted on its Website.

The original, Chinese version of the story, which cited a former Suntech employee, said Suntech started laying off employees in the last quarter, and the workforce reduction would reach 4,000 people, or 30 percent of the company's workforce, around now.

The story included comments from a Suntech spokesman, who didn't refute the numbers. The spokesman said the staff cut was seasonal because market demand is typically low during the winter.

But Suntech representatives said Monday the Chinese news report exaggerated the layoffs. Four thousand employees would've represented 50 percent of Suntech's workforce, Chadima said.

Suntech has no immediate plans to cut more staff, Chadima said. The company is putting off on its previous plan to hire more factory employees in 2009 until it can better determine market demand.

The Chinese news report also mentioned that some workers were asked to take a long holiday break without pay, and that the company cut executive salaries. Chadima, who initially told Greentech Media that some factory employees did take a two-week break -- instead of one-week -- without pay, called back to say that in fact the workers took paid vacation.

He added that the company didn't cut salaries for the executives. Instead, managers didn't take the year-end bonuses for 2008 "to deal with financial challenges in the next few months."

The company's factories are running at 50 percent to 60 percent capacity, which falls in line with the guidance the company has given to investors. The company recently celebrated reaching a 1-gigawatt production capacity for its solar cells and panels.

Suntech isn't alone in laying off employees. OptiSolar, based in Hayward, Calif., laid off 300 employees – or 50 percent of its staff. HelioVolt, which opened its first-ever solar panel factory last October in Austin, Texas, also has cut staff. SunEdison, a large solar power plant developer in Beltsville, Md., let go 50 to 60 people, a former SunEdison employee told Greentech Media.

Other solar companies, including Q-Cells in Germany and LDK Solar in China, have cut their 2009 sales and production forecast.