Chinese solar firms move to lower Euro PV prices

Three Chinese solar companies are about to hit the European PV market backed with up to $10 billion bank fund, aiming at dropping PV installation prices by five percent.

China Merchants Bank and state-owned China Development Bank will provide financial assistance for Goldpoly New Energy Holdings, TBEA Sun Oasis and China Technology Development Group Corp (CTDC) as the trio look to stake a claim in the European solar market.

The goal of the firms is to capitalise on the booming European market, looking to invest in reducing prices through their PV investment consortium, which hopes to “improve efficiency and bring comprehensive solutions to solar park construction in Europe”.

According to CTDC one of the driving forces in the move is Germany’s recent plans to ditch nuclear power by 2022 which it believes will “stimulate the growth of the solar industry in Europe the US and China.

The companies will apparently look to implement new technologies and materials in the bid to create more accessible solar technology.

The group also plans to develop small solar projects using their own components such as cells, wafers and inverters, before moving onto larger projects.

According to TBEA SunOasis CEO Jianxin Zhang the $10 billion kitty will help the trio to “grow steadily” and advance their “investment and construction of solar plants in Europe”.

However while the lowered cost will likely lead to more consumers buying solar products, analyst Sam Wilkinson at IMS Research believes that the other side of the coin of Chinese investment is a knock effect for the suppliers.

“It is definitely a positive move in the sense that it will lead to lower prices,” Wilkinson told TechEye.

“However Europe is struggling to compete with low cost Chinese suppliers which have a different pricing structure.”

“With PV prices falling in general, such suppliers could be have a negative impact as far as European companies are concerned.”

“But these firms are not the first to come into the European market, which is way ahead in terms of demand, so it is unlikely that they will make a significant impact themselves.”

The US government also looked to support lower priced solar technology, with the Department of Energy announcing today that it would be investing $150 million in 1366 Technologies.

1366 Technologies, a start up which was spun off from MIT with the aim of making electricity cheaper than coal, will receive the funding to build two plants to ramp up its PV manufacturing.

One of the plants is expected to open in 2013, making wafers at a rate of 20 megawatts per year.