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Friday, 17 June 2011

Chinese Banks Back $10 Billion Bid to Build Solar Energy Plants in Europe

Two Chinese banks are providing as much as $10 billion in funding to a group of three Chinese makers of solar equipment to build sun-powered energy projects in Europe.
China Merchants Bank Co. and the state-owned China Development Bank Corp. are backing the efforts of Goldpoly New Energy Holdings Ltd., TBEA SunOasis Co. and China Technology Development Group Corp. (CTDC) to expand in Europe, CTDC said in a statement.
The solar companies say their goals align with the Chinese government’s policies on promoting renewable energy, and that the German government’s plans to abandon nuclear power by 2022 will drive up demand for solar energy in the region.
“We feel confident that we will be leading the next golden decade of solar energy development,” Tim Yiu, executive director and general manager of the solar energy business of Goldpoly, a solar cell maker based in Jinjiang in China’s Fujian Province, said in the statement.
The three companies plan to use modules produced with their own components, including polysilicon, wafers, cells and inverters, according to the statement. They expect to initially develop small projects and then move on to larger ones.
“Our PV investment consortium has strong financial support from China Development Bank and China Merchants Bank,” said Jianxin Zhang, chief executive officer of TBEA SunOasis, based in Urumqi. “Given their backing of $10 billion credit facilities, we will be able to grow steadily and advance our investment and construction of solar plants in Europe.”

State Support

An exact timeline and breakdown of the financing wasn’t disclosed. Lending by China Development Bank for clean energy projects exceeded $35.5 billion last year, according to a February report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
China Development Bank has loaned to other Chinese solar power equipment makers, including more than $26 billion to LDK Solar Co., Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL), Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., Suntech Power Holdings Co. and JA Solar Holdings Co., according to data compiled by the London-based researcher.
The three solar makers said this is the first time three listed Chinese companies have formed such a group, and the funding will provide a new avenue to sell their own products.
Other solar companies have purchased development companies to ensure demand for their products. SunPower Corp. (SPWRA), a U.S. maker of solar panels, bought Malta-based SunRay Renewable Energy in February 2010 to increase its sales in Europe. LDK Solar bought in January a 70 percent stake in Solar Power Inc.

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