Friday, November 20, 2009

LDK Solar Sells Partial Ownership Stake In Silicon Plant

LDK Solar Co. Ltd. has entered into an agreement to sell a 15% ownership stake in its polysilicon plant in Xinyu City, China. The plant has an annualized capacity of 15,000 metric tons (MT). Jiangxi International Trust and Investment Co. Ltd. has agreed to purchase this interest for approximately RMB 1.5 billion (equivalent to approximately $219 million).

"Jiangxi International Trust and Investment Co.'s investment in our 15,000 MT polysilicon plant will significantly strengthen our financial position and increase our near-term operating flexibility," states Xiaofeng Peng, chairman and CEO of LDK Solar.

SOURCE: LDK Solar Co. Ltd.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Suntech's Arizona Choice

A Beijing-based solar professional talked to Suntech engineers today. They told him Arizona was chosen for the plant partly due to local government incentives, partly because Suntech thinks Arizon will be a big market for utility solar.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

First Solar, Ordos Mayor Sign Cooperation Framework Agreement

The First Solar project in Ordos, Inner Mongolia is massive, not only literally but also in terms of a step forward in US-China clean energy ties. Recently I heard NRDC's Barbara Finamore talk about the future of US-China cooperation on climate issues. NRDC has been working with First Solar on working out the details with the Chinese side. Barbara Finamore mentioned challenges such as intellectual property rights and rewards like First Solar benefiting from the feed-in tariff.

On 17 Nov 09, First Solar President Bruce Sohn and Mayor Yun Guangzhong of the Ordos City Government signed the Cooperation Framework Agreement as a key step forward for this project. Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, Vice Minister Liu Qi of the National Energy Administration, and U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu were all there. The Agreement between First Solar and Ordos spells out additional project details and local support that advance the development of the 2GW solar power plant and confirm the June 1, 2010 expected construction start date for the 30MW Phase 1. First Solar and Ordos also agreed to establish two committees to ensure the successful execution of the project and to develop a new energy industry in Ordos.

"This Cooperation Framework Agreement and its recognition by the National Energy Administration mark a critical step forward in the approval process for the Ordos project, one of the world's most ambitious renewable energy projects," said First Solar Chief Executive Officer Rob Gillette. "It reinforces the commitment of First Solar, the Chinese government, and the Ordos local government to make an immediate contribution to the development of a healthy solar industry in China and to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions." The signing ceremony took place as part of the U.S.-China Summit where U.S.

"President Obama's trip to Beijing is a significant step forward in further solidifying bilateral relations with China. First Solar is enthusiastic in contributing to the commercial relations of our two countries through this Cooperative Framework Agreement," said Mr. Gillette.

"Solar energy will play a significant role in achieving China's low carbon future," said Yun Guangzhong, Mayor of Ordos City. "We are very pleased to be partnering with one of the solar industry's global leaders in a project of such significance." The 2GW First Solar project is to be built in multiple phases, beginning with the 30MW Phase 1. Phases 2, 3 and 4 are to be 100MW, 870MW, and 1,000MW, respectively. Phases 2 and 3 are to be completed by 2014 and Phase 4 is to be completed by 2019. The project is part of a planned 11.95GW New Energy Industry Demonstration Zone in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia. The New Energy Industry Demonstration Zone is expected to combine solar, wind, hydroelectric and biomass power sources to provide a steady supply of renewable energy to the region that includes the Chinese capital.

On 16 Nov 09, Mr. Sohn participated in a Clean Energy Roundtable with National Energy Administration Vice Minister Liu Qi, Energy Secretary Chu, Commerce Secretary Locke, U.S. Trade Representative Kirk and a small group of senior U.S. and Chinese business executives. During the high-level Roundtable, in which First Solar was asked to address the significance of renewable energy, Mr. Sohn told participants that China's vision and leadership in supporting solar energy and the Ordos project will "serve as a model of renewable power generation for the world. Projects such as Ordos will enable significant cost reductions through scale, and make solar a truly sustainable energy source in the near future. First Solar is committed to helping build a sustainable solar industry and low carbon economy in China by bringing advanced solar PV technology, global experience, and a focus on cost reduction and environmental sustainability." The Cooperation Framework Agreement sets forth the agreement in principle of the parties concerning the project and related activities. Final agreement between the parties is subject to the negotiation and execution of definitive agreements among the parties.

Suntech Received Grant

Chinese solar panel maker Suntech Power confirmed it had received a subsidy for developing 20 percent of the 91MW of solar projects under the central government's solar rooftop program. It is estimated that Suntech will get a subsidy of 1.4 billion yuan under the solar rooftop-plan, part of China's efforts to encourage the development of solar industry.

Zhejiang-based solar firm Chint Solar Technology has also been granted subsidies that the company CEO said could save costs to the tune of nearly 50 percent. "With government subsidies, we could expect an 8 percent return on investment annually," said Chint Solar Technology CEO, Yang Liyou.

China is accelerating solar power development by identifying 294 pilot projects with a total generating capacity of 642MW under its newly launched plan "Golden Sun", signaling another step for the applications of solar technology. These projects are expected to cost around 20 billion yuan and would be ready for use in two or three years, the Ministry of Finance said on its website.

Among the 294 pilot projects, Henan and Zhejiang provinces contributed 31 programs respectively, followed by Jiangsu and Anhui provinces. The capacity will be nearly 30 percent more than the 500MW target China set in July when it launched the "Golden Sun" plan. China is likely to triple the target to 1,500MW by 2015, an official from the Ministry of Science and Technology said recently.

"This has been the government's second round of subsidy for solar firms, which will subsidize half of the investment cost," said Li Junfeng, deputy director general at Energy Research Institute of NDRC.

The finance ministry is encouraging firms to apply for subsidies and has laid out specific price and quality requirements for parts and components in the qualified solar power projects. China initiated the solar rooftop plan in the first half of this year, in which the government is providing subsidies for buildings with solar roofs, while the golden sun plan focuses on subsidizing solar power plants.


(China Daily, November 17, 2009)

Monday, November 16, 2009

More Details on Suntech Deal

The Green Energy Reporter (http://greenenergyreporter.com/) contacted Suntech's spokeswoman, Sarahjane Sacchetti, to get more info about the deal. She wrote, via email, that the company would seek a 30 percent manufacturing tax credit available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The company, as expected, is also working with the state of Arizona and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council on grants, property tax abatements, permit fee waivers and local tax reductions, Sacchetti writes.

The company will be funding the construction by itself but has not put a price on the project yet, since officials are still considering sites.

As for the timing of the announcement, Sacchetti added, "We made the announcement in Beijing this morning during the U.S. China Green Tech Summit. Our head of the United States, Steven Chan was speaking this AM regarding the importance of collaboration between U.S. and China business and policy leaders in terms of advancing renewable energy and he shared the news of the Arizona area being selected for our first U.S. plant."

Interestingly enough, Keith Johnson at WSJ’s Environmental Capital has a piece on HSBC’s report that low prices for solar power modules will stimulate demand and economies of scale in the coming year. It will be good for Suntech’s Asian manufacturing facilities because labor costs are much lower, HSBC notes.

The reports also justifies Suntech’s decision to build in the U.S., since material costs are decreasing and transportation costs will account for a bigger share of the company’s expenses.

Ministry of Finance Releases Specific List of 'Golden Sun' Recipients

Ever since the NDRC slammed on the Ministry of Finance for prematurely releasing the Solar Rooftop Program announcement earlier this year, I take MoF press releases with a grain of salt. I like to wait until confirmed by other government organs before completely trusting the information.

The ministry first announced it had selected the projects last Friday, it wasn't until today that it posted on its website the project guidelines and provided the list of developers and the size and location of each project.

The released list contains 275 projects, not the 294 initially announced. There also is a link to a Word document that spells out some technical guidelines, including pricing for crystalline and thin-film solar equipment.

The ministry first announced the Golden Sun initiative in July this year, characterizing it as a demonstration program to promote renewable energy generation and create a domestic market for its solar cell and panel manufacturers. These manufacturers, such as Suntech Power, Yingli Green Energy, JA Solar and Trina Solar, export most of their goods to Europe and North America.

In that July announcement, the government said it would subsidize no less than 500 megawatts of installations, which the projects would need to spread across the country and benefit both residents and businesses that are on and off the grid.

The ministry said it expects all of these projects to be completed within three years.

It also has spelled out some technology and pricing requirements for these projects. Prices to be paid for crystalline silicon panels should be no higher RMB 14 ($2) per watt. The ceiling for amorphous silicon panels is RMB 9 ($1.32) per watt.

Monocrystalline silicon panels must have at least 15 percent efficiency. The minimum efficiency for multicrystalline panels would be 14 percent and 6 percent for amorphous silicon thin films.

The government also wants guaranteed energy output of each solar energy system at the two-year, 10-year and 25-year mark. Developers could use other types of thin films, concentrating photovoltaic and other solar technologies, but they must show success stories about using these technologies.

The majority of the projects would be installed at industrial and commercial operations, where the solar electricity would be used onsite. Another eighteen projects could be off-grid installations.

The remaining 35 projects would be large power plants that would feed the electricity to the grid.

The government also has discussed creating a feed-in tariff, which would allow solar power plant operators to sell electricity at government-set, premium prices.

Phoenix Sun article on Suntech PV Plant in AZ

great article in Phoenix Sun about Suntech's planned Arizona PV manufacturing plant:

Suntech chooses the Valley of the Sun


November 16, 2009

Suntech, the world’s second largest producer of solar cells has announced its plan to build its first solar manufacturing plant in the United States, in the Phoenix, Arizona. With headquarters in Wuxi, China, Suntech will be the first major Chinese solar company to build a major manufacturing plant in the United States.

“Bringing manufacturing jobs to the U.S. is part of Suntech’s vision to grow the solar market in every corner of the world,” said Suntech’s Chairman and CEO Dr. Zhengrong Shi, in a press release. “We are eagerly watching growing markets and see the potential of bringing manufacturing capabilities to other markets where we see the combination of rapid local market growth and manufacturing cost competitiveness.”

Ironically, First Solar announced plans in September to build the world’s largest solar power plant — in China. First Solar’s growth resulted in the companies listing last month on the Standard & Poor 500 stock index. First Solar produces thin-film solar PV while Suntech makes traditional silicon-based technology for its cells.

Arizona’s success in bringing Suntech to the state is in part due to enactment this year of a the Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program sponsored in the Arizona Senate by Barbara Leff (R).

Watch This Space

Interfax China is reporting today that the Chinese government announced on Nov. 13 that it has chosen the first 294 PV projects that it will award subsidies to through its "Golden Sun" program. Looking for details.

Suntech's Arizona Plant

In June, Suntech's Roger Efird said the company was planning a 100-megawatt factory that would start operating in the first quarter of 2010. According to the excellent Ucelia Wang in Greentechmedia, the company had narrowed down the list of potential factory sites to Arizona and Texas before deciding on the former. I had heard Texas, too. I think there was another state besides Utah that was also in the running.

The company said it's looking for a factory space of 80,000 to 100,000 square feet, which would enable Suntech to add production lines later if demand from the U.S. market improves.

According to PR Newswire, Suntech selected the Greater Phoenix area for its plant because of Arizona's leadership in research through Arizona State University, and statewide renewable energy policies, particularly its Renewable Energy Standard and distributed generation set-aside, as well as a supportive local business climate represented by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

They quote Shi Zhengrong as saying, "Bringing manufacturing jobs to the U.S. is part of Suntech's vision to grow the solar market in every corner of the world." He continues, "We are eagerly watching growing markets and see the potential of bringing manufacturing capabilities to other markets where we see the combination of rapid local market growth and manufacturing cost competitiveness."

Locating the plant close to Suntech's U.S. customers will reduce the time, costs, and emissions associated with long-distance shipping of Suntech panels. The plant, which will be approximately 80,000 to 100,000 square feet, will allow for long-term growth of manufacturing capabilities to meet increasing American demand for solar power.

"Suntech has been a leader to watch for some time, and its decision to bring manufacturing here to the U.S. is a great sign of the increasingly important collaboration between Chinese and American leaders in the renewable energy industry, as well as the potential for growth of green jobs in countries that implement smart, supportive policies," said Dan Kammen, Professor in the Energy and Resources Group and Director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley.

Shi Zhengrong also said, "This is the first step in what I see as a long-term, strategic investment in the North American market. Over the last two years we have grown our U.S. team to over 60 employees. As a result of that effort, we have developed a network of over 200 solar dealers and integrators installing Suntech products and are actively involved with a number of large-scale solar project developers serving the utility market. We also have developed strong partnerships with U.S. companies such as MEMC of Pasadena, Texas, our largest supplier of silicon wafers used in our modules. The leadership shown by the US government in advancing renewable energy will only improve the environment for further investments in the coming years."

Suntech to Build Plant in Phoenix Area

An announcement for the exact location of this plant hasn't been announced yet. Suntech says they will announce it within the "next couple of weeks". The factory would start with a capacity to produce 30 megawatts of solar panel per year. Suntech executives have said previously that the company would ship solar cells from its China manufacturing complex to the U.S. factory for panel assembly.

Earlier in the year, there had been much speculation about where Suntech would choose for its plant. I heard Utah rumors. Supposedly Shi Zhengrong and GOV Huntsman had developed a relationship. Maybe Huntsman taking ambassador position had hurt Utah's chances.

Arizona? Very interesting. Last year I worked with the New Mexico state government as they tried to attract Asian solar companies. I assisted Itochu in finding business partners to jointly respond to a couple of PNM RFP's. I wasn't aware that Arizona had a particularly close relationship with any Chinese renewable energy company or a robust state foreign affairs office that would seek out business.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Yingli Posting Recored Revenues

Just discovered an excellent blog - Greenstocks Central, http://greenstockscentral.com/. Tate Dwinnell posted this good news for Yingli investors this morning:

Yingli Green Energy (YGE) posted a mostly strong earnings report this morning, beating on the EPS side and posting record revenues, but missing Wall ST revenue estimates just a bit. Like most solar companies this quarter, the company posted results much better sequentially but flat compared to the year ago quarter. Granted, the year ago quarter was typically the best quarter for most solar companies, so starting next quarter the quarter over quarter growth should pick up substantially.

Yingli reported .18/share which beat analyst estimates of .17/share, but is lower than the .20/share they posted a year earlier. On the revenue side, the company posted a record $326 million vs the analyst estimate of $328 million which is a slight improvement over the year ago quarter (the previous record)

The CEO commented on the results saying the success in the quarter was driven by increased demand for its products due to an improvement in the solar project financing environment. He also noted the continued improvement of the margins by reducing processing costs.

He also commented on the future:

I am pleased to report that Project PANDA has achieved its first phase target ahead of schedule, producing next-generation cells with an average conversion efficiency rate of 18% or higher on our pilot production line. Also of note,our in-house polysilicon manufacturing plant, Fine Silicon, is set to begin trial production in December 2009. With Fine Silicon on-line, we will become one of a limited number of PV manufacturers in the world with a fully vertically integrated business model, covering the manufacturing process from polysilicon to PV modules. In addition, we will be the first vertically integrated PV product manufacturer in the world to have all of our production facilities located on one site. We believe this will enable us to further optimize our cost structure and capture profit at nearly every stage of the PV industry value chain, thus driving profitability and allowing us to better serve our global customer base.”

Shares of Yingli are up about 4% in premarket trading.

CSP Acquires ThinSilicon, Inc

According to chinasolarcsp.com, China Solar Power (Holdings) Ltd. (“CSP”), a manufacturer of thin film amorphous silicon photovoltaic modules, today announced that it purchased ThinSilicon, Inc., a leading developer of thin film manufacturing process technology based in Mountain View, CA. No financial terms were disclosed.

CSP’s initial manufacturing facility, located in the city of Yantai, China, recently commenced commercial operation. The plant, whose initial configuration will produce a-Si solar panels utilizing production equipment supplied by ULVAC, Inc. of Japan, will have an annual capacity of approximately 32MW once it reaches full production in 2010. The company recently broke ground on its second manufacturing facility, located in Jiangyin, China, and has entered into development and financing agreements with two other Chinese municipalities to build and operate additional production facilities within those cities. Upon completion of manufacturing facilities under construction and currently under development, CSP’s annual production capacity is expected to exceed 500MW, making it by far China’s largest manufacturer of thin film PV modules.

My Love for Jiangsu

I don't deny it, I love Jiangsu. It currently boast the largest number of PV makers out of all the provinces of China and aims to create a total production value of 100 billion yuan (US$14.6 billion) for PV products in 2012. More interestingly, Jiangsu business people and government officials can't stay put. They are either in California trying to broker deals or closer to home. DIGI Times reported that a solar industry procurement delegation from Jiangsu businesses arrived in Taiwan on 9 Nov. This isn't surprising since there are already close ties. For example, PV module maker Jiangsu Aide Solar Energy was established by Taiwan-based PanJit International.

Suntech to develop 20% of China's Rooftop Solar Program projects

According to PV-tech.org, Suntech Power expects to develop approximately 20% of the 91MW of solar projects that were approved under China's Solar Rooftop Program, launched in March this year by the Ministry of Finance.

Suntech BIPV integrationThe solar rooftop program is designed to increase the energy efficiency of buildings through the installation of BAPV and BIPV solar systems. The first set of applications for this project was submitted in April 2009, however to date, 111 solar projects totaling 91MW across China have now been approved. These projects will now receive funds through the program in order to develop the systems. System owners can expect to receive approximately RMB13-17/watt rebate for all projects approved through this program.

Suntech expects to be responsible for 20% of these applications, participating as the system owner or partial investor in several projects. The company has already completed 4MW of the approved projects with plans to develop the remaining projects by the middle of next year. Specific project agreements will be signed prior to implementation.

"Building energy use accounts for roughly 28% of total energy consumption in China and is a critical front in the drive to achieve higher energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions," said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's chairman and CEO. "The Ministry of Finance Solar Building Program recognizes the huge opportunity to offset building energy consumption with integrated solar energy generation. We are very pleased to demonstrate the capability of this technology and we hope to see this valuable solar program expanded in 2010 and beyond."

The Solar Rooftop Program is designed to place emphasis on highly integrated forms of PV. Suntech is just one company who is shifting dedication to BIPV products with an experienced system design and integration teams as the PV market moves in this direction.

"Solar is an ideal solution to improve energy efficiency as it can be built into the skin of a building and serves the dual function of a building material and an energy generating system. We should view the countless rooftops across China as an underutilized resource that can easily support clean, distributed energy generation," added Dr. Shi.

Strong US Investment in Solar in 3Q 09

Alison Pruitt this morning wrote in Solar Feeds about an Ernst & Young report on increase of US venture capital (VC) investment in cleantech companies increased 46% from 2Q to 3Q in 2009.

The total amount invested was $965 million, according to an Ernst & Young LLP analysis based on data from Dow Jones VentureSource. This is the second consecutive quarter of growth in 2009 and the fifth-largest quarterly investment total on record. Compared to the first quarter of 2009, quarterly capital investment has increased a whopping 182%.

The majority of investment dollars - 61% - was directed to companies that are currently shipping products, as opposed to companies that are in the research and development phase. The energy/electricity generation category received the largest amount of investment with $316 million or 33% of the total cleantech investing. Solar technologies garnered the majority of investment in this category, raising $309 million, a quarterly increase of 115%. The alternative fuels category, consisting entirely of biofuels deals, grew by 58% to $71 million.

By the way, Solar Feeds an excellent source of solar analysis and info

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Asia Society Discussion on US-China Climate Cooperation

Yesterday the Asia Society had an excellent panel discussion with Orville Schell and NRDC's Alex Wang and Barbara Finamore. I was very happy when Barbara mentioned the First Solar project in Ordos, Inner Mongolia. She used it as an example of how China's efforts to develop its domestic solar industry will benefit international companies. She also mentioned how a stronger China solar sector will bring the international PV costs.

Alex Wang had some interesting points about developments in China's policy implementation and transparency. Official performance reviews have made local officials promote energy efficiency and address environmental concerns. The top 1000 program is another way the central government has provided incentives for the top energy consuming companies.

Suntech starts on first 10 MW of Jiangsu solar project

Wuxi, China-based Suntech Power Holdings said it has started building the first phase, 10 megawatts, of a 50-MW solar power plant with strategic partner China Huadian New Energy Development.

Suntech (NYSE:STP) holds a minority share in the project, located in Dongtai, in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province. The first phase is expected to be completed as soon as the end of 2009. The crystalline silicon photovoltaic module manufacturer plans to supply its modules for the project, as well as designing and managing the plant’s installation.

China Huadian New Energy Development finances, constructs, manages, and operates renewable energy electric generation facilities. It was established in 2007 by power utility China Huadian and four of its subsidiaries.

The Dongtai solar plant is to be powered by more than 37,000 Suntech solar panels and displace about 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Financial details were not disclosed.

The project is expected to be supported by the province's feed-in tariff policy that offers RMB 2.15 ($0.31) per kilowatt-hour for ground-mounted solar projects finished in 2009 (see New solar subsidies in China set to reduce installed cost by half).

This is the first project being initiated under a strategic agreement between Suntech and China Huadian New Energy Development, announced earlier this year (see Suntech, China Huadian New Energy partner on solar jobs).

The companies committed to developing utility-scale and commercial rooftop solar projects in China's sunny western provinces, Jiangsu province and Shanghai, during the next three years.

In May, Suntech also announced plans to build the largest grid-connected solar installation in Jiangsu Province, in partnership with Jiangsu Guoxin Group.


(Clean Tech, November 9, 2009)

China Oct PV sales up 80% to 923,154 units

China's automobile market continued its robust growth in October, with passenger vehicle (PV) sales clocking a year-on-year growth of 79.6 percent, and provided enough indications that the country is well on its way to occupy the top perch in the global automobile market.

Sales of cars, sports-utility vehicles, minivans and multi-purpose vehicles touched 923,154 units last month, said Rao Da, secretary-general of China Passenger Car Association on Friday in Shanghai.

During the first 10 months, passenger vehicle sales surged nearly 52.4 percent over the same period last year to 8.08 million units.

"The government's favorable tax policy and the eight-day National Day holidays spurred sales in October. The robust trend was also aided as vehicle manufacturers produced more popular models during the period and reduced the delivery time," said Rao.

"We are optimistic that the November figures would surpass that of October as sales normally peak toward the end of the year," he said.

China's automobile industry has been growing robustly since the end of last year and is now the most dynamic and promising market in the world.

"More importantly, by the end of November, total vehicles sales in China will surpass the 12-million-unit target, set by the government under its automobile industry restructuring plan of last year, some 25 months in advance," said Rao.

"We expect full-year automobile sales to touch 13.5 million with a year-on-year growth rate of 44 percent. That in turn, would make China the world's largest automobile market for the whole year."

Rao said if the government can continue its stimulus package for the automobile industry, the growth rate for the 2010 could reach 25 percent.

On Thursday, Zhu Hongren, spokesman of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said the government is considering extending the favorable tax policies and the subsidy for automobile purchases in rural regions to next year also. The policies were scheduled to end this year.

On Oct 28, the China Economic Monitoring Center and Sinotrust jointly released the 2009 Third Quarter China Automotive Industry Climate Index and pegged the indicator at 99.6 points in the third quarter of this year (2001=100), up 2.7 points over the second quarter, indicating that the automobile market has started to recover from the downturn

(China Knowledge, November 9, 2009)

Market for Chinese Polysilicon in the PV Industry Report

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "China's Polysilicon Market in Solar Photovoltaic Industry" report to their offering.

Global hiking of oil prices, as well as alarming energy crisis, push rapid development of renewable energies around the world, with solar energy an outstanding one. Driven by global booming solar energy, China's solar cell production has developed rapidly in past three years, with output CAGR of 144% from 2007 to 2009. However, domestic supply of polysilicon, key raw material of solar cell, has heavily depended on import (78.46% in 2008), due to high cost and small output caused by immature technology.

Strong demand for solar cell and high profit rate attract increasing enterprises to engage in polysilicon production in China after 2007. Polysilicon output for 2009 is estimated to reach 12,500 tonnes and the supply in 2010 is expected to meet the demand with new capacity release. What's the influence of this change will be exerted on China's status in global solar PV industry? Will China's soaring polysilicon output influence price or profit of international polysilicon manufacturers, such as MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. and Huku Material Inc. What change will arise for China's main polysilicon suppliers?

As overseas experiences demonstrate, sustainable development of polysilicon relies on solar PV advance, and the latter's growth is greatly driven by governmental policy on feed-in tariff, thus a fresh focus comes to following outlook: what is China's attitude towards feed-in tariff? Will China's PV market still depend on overseas' and how is the growing momentum in the following years?

Moreover, owing to lack of national long-term plan for polysilicon development, China's polysilicon industry is facing many problems, such as overcapacity, lack of core production technology and ineffective technology in tail gas treatment, all of which have severely dragged sustainable development of polysilicon. With great technology breakthroughs in recent two years, what's the potential change in the future?

This report will unveil penetration of above focuses, and to further explore these intelligences, key aspects will be presented as follows:


What are reasons for rapid development of polysilicon industry?

What are main problems in polysilicon industry?

What is influence of latest policies on future polysilicon development?

How does competitive landscape of different solar cells present?

How does interaction between polysilicon and solar PV industry function?

What are opportunities from future polysilicon industry?

What are profiles of major polysilicon producers and end users together with discussion on their key business strategies?


(researchandmarket.com, November 3, 2009)

China-based PV module makers cut quotes for 1Q10; Europe competitors follow suit

China-based photovoltaic (PV) module makers have lowered their quotes for the Europe market by 14.3% from 1.4 euros/watt currently to 1.2 euros/watt for the first quarter of 2010. In response, Europe-based makers have also reduced quotes by 10.5% from 1.9 euros/watt presently to 1.7 euros/watt, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

Taiwan-based PV module makers quote US$2.1 (1.4 euro)/watt currently, about the same as China-based competitors' price level.

(DIGI Times, November 10, 2009)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Q-Cells terminates supplier contract as row with LDK Solar turns nasty

German solar cell manufacturer Q-Cells has terminated its supply agreement with China-based silicon wafer manufacturer LDK Solar, accusing its erstwhile partner of failing to deliver on the contract as promised.

The move prompted an immediate counter accusation from LDK Solar, who said the German firm had requested that shipments be suspended as it attempted to address an oversupply of solar panels across the industry.

In 2008, the two firms signed a 10-year contract for the supply of the wafers - a key component in the manufacture of solar cells - which saw Q-Cells hand over $244.5m to LDK Solar as a prepayment before the first batches were delivered.

The agreement specified that LDK Solar would supply wafers to Q-Cells totalling 43,000 metric tons for the years 2009 to 2018, with 1,000 metric tons to be delivered in 2009.

Q-Cells said in a statement yesterday that LDK solar did not fulfil "significant contractual obligations", claiming it has not delivered the silicon wafers it had promised in 2009.

LDK Solar vigorously denied the accusation, stating that deliveries were made as promised in the first quarter of this year, but were then suspended at the request of Q-Cells in March as the two companies looked to renegotiate the contract.

LDK, whose shares fell 20 per cent yesterday on news of the termination, also said it has the wafers waiting to be shipped should Q-Cells want them.

"LDK Solar firmly believes it has performed substantially on all its obligations under the supply agreement," the company said in a statement. " This termination is without any valid basis."

Q-Cells indicated it may try to reclaim the initial $244.5m payment, which is currently being held as a bank guarantee.

LDK Solar said that such a move would constitute a wrongful drawdown under the supply agreement and thus "violates the purpose of such bank guarantee".

The District Court in Berlin initially prohibited Q-Cells from drawing down the bank guarantee, but that injunction has now been lifted.

The contract specifies that in the case of disagreement, an arbitration process should take place at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris and LDK hopes to take up its case with Q-Cells there.

At the root of the dispute lies the oversupply of solar panels, which has characterised the market over the past year with the recession leading to curbed demand just at the time when many manufacturers were scaling up capacity. As a result, the price of solar cells has fallen sharply and Q-Cells was forced to downgrade its 2009 outlook earlier this year and instigate job cuts.

The oversupply of panels has also had a knock-on effect on the silicon wafer market, causing the price to fall sharply.

In August, Q-Cells issued a statement saying that oversupply of silicon wafers had led to a price fall way below what it agreed with suppliers for 2009 contracts, and that as a result it was looking to renegotiate supply deals.

"In 2010, the contracts will be brought into line with the market price so that this disadvantage will largely be eliminated," it said in the statement.

SES Research analyst Karsten von Blumenthal told Reuters that it was likely the drop in wafer prices had influenced Q-Cells' decision to terminate the contract. "It is likely that wafer prices agreed in the contract were far higher than the current market prices, so Q-Cells would have a good reason to terminate the agreement," he said.

Advanced Technology & Materials partners with Odersun to target Chinese solar market

Chinese based material developer Advanced Technology & Materials (AT&M) has joined forces with German-based thin film solar cell innovator Odersun for the production and sales of solar cells in Beijing, China.

The joint venture will take the form of manufacturing facilities, set to begin construction sometime in 2010. These facilities will produce solar cells and modules based on Odersun proprietary thin-film technology.

Zhao Pei, president, Advanced Technology & Materials, said, ‘We are delighted with this chance to bring highly innovative and flexible solar products based on Odersun’s technology to the growing Chinese market.’

Dr Hein van der Zeeuw, CEO, Odersun, added, ‘‘Here we have the unique opportunity to address the Chinese market and at the same time to further accelerate innovation at Odersun in cooperation with a highly competent partner.’

AT&M and Odersun have been working together since 2004, when AT&M became an early investor in Odersun and a strategic partner in a number of joint venture projects, according to the statement.

Advanced Technologies & Materials is a stock-listed developer, manufacturer and retailer of advanced materials and related products, employing nearly 1,000 people.

Odersun designs and manufactures flexible, silicon free, solar products using a proprietary, world-wide patented, thin film technology. The company is backed by an international consortium of private investors including Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Green Fund.

Copyright © 2009 NewNet
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