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Asia Report: South Korean Solar Companies Make Strong Push Into U.S. Market

A growing trade dispute may be leaving most Chinese companies reticent to set up shop in the lucrative American market, but two South Korean corporations are launching large-scale U.S.-based operations.

Both Nexelon and Hanwha are entering the American market in hopes of capturing a large share of America’s vaunted utility-scale pipeline. In recent days, both companies have moved aggressively to create a presence on American soil.

Nexelon, a top 5 ingot and solar wafer manufacturer, recently announced it was opening a U.S. headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, as part of a consortium that will bring 400 megawatts (MW) of solar power to Texas and a host of long-term jobs to many corners of the state. The deal with San Antonio municipal utility CPS Energy also includes the construction of a 200-MW manufacturing facility.

South Korean conglomerate Hanwha recently announced it was starting a U.S.-based division that will finance and build solar projects in the United States. According to Bloomberg News, the new unit will fold in California-based Solar Monkey. Hanwha purchased a stake in the company in 2011. Now, the new U.S. division will allow Hanwha to sell panels made by its Hanwha SolarOne unit to service a pipeline estimated at over 1 gigawatt (GW).


IN THE NEWS

A123 Looks to China for Financial Rescue: A123 Systems Inc.'s financial rescue by China's largest auto-parts maker is fueling renewed scrutiny of the government's funding of clean-energy technology. A123, a pioneer in lithium-ion batteries for electrical cars that received a $249.1 million federal grant, is getting financing worth as much as $450 million from Wanxiang Group Corp. The deal, which may give the Chinese company an 80 percent stake in A123, was opposed by Representative Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican.

U.S. Commits to $280 Million to Hydro in Pakistan: Two Pakistani hydropower projects will receive a US$280 million boost compliments of the United States. The American embassy in Pakistan says that relief of the country's energy crisis is a "top priority," and the funds -- released by Congress this past week -- will support the 1,000-MW Mangla and 83-MW Kurram Tangi projects. The U.S. State Department says the money will be used for improvements at Mangla and "infrastructure support and due dilligence work" at Kurram Tangi.

Canadian Solar Signs Loan Deal With China Bank: Canadian Solar Inc said it signed a $93.8 million loan agreement with China Development Bank Corp to partially fund its acquisition of stakes in 16 solar power projects. The company, which is based in Canada but has most of its operations in China, said in April it will buy a majority stake in these projects from SkyPower Ltd for about $185 million.

$65 Million Secured for SE Asian Solar: The Armstrong South East Asia Clean Energy Fund, said to be the first of its kind in the region, has secured US$65 million in its first funding round. Overall, it aims to raise $150 million for small-scale power generation, including solar, in South East Asia. It is believed the region will become a "highly attractive" small-scale project market, according to PV Magazine.


ON THE HORIZON

Latin America Offers New Direction for China’s Solar Giants: Suntech recently passed the 1 gigawatt (GW) mark in the Americas, and of course, the vast share of those installations were done in the more mature, lucrative and stable North America region. But if Suntech is to achieve its second GW in half the time, as they are suggesting, they’ll likely find an increasing share of their sales coming from Latin America. That’s an area all manufacturers are targeting, and it’s a region Chinese module makers are especially well-positioned to serve.

In India, Power Shortage Lures Investors to Biomass: In the backdrop of acute power shortage in Haryana, private players are pushing ahead biomass-based power projects. With thermal power projects shut down due to technical reasons and inadequate coal supply, independent power producers are taking up biomass power projects mainly based on waste of agriculture and distillery.

India, Norway to Jointly Develop Geothermal Expertise: India and Norway are collaborating on a research and development project to develop expertise to harvest geothermal energy and contribute to human resource development. The final report of this project is expected to be submitted in 2015.

Solar Efficiency High Set By India-Japan Team: An Indo-Japanese research initiative has achieved an the conversion efficiency level of 11.4 percent in electricity generation using dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSC), the highest so far. They have also developed a new material (a co-adsorbent) to achieve the highest certified efficiency.


A DEEPER LOOK

Sustainable Development in the Mekong: The Mekong River in Southeast Asia is filled with possibilities when it comes to hydropower development, but a number of concerns can make building new hydro facilities there tricky and uncertain.

Can Inner Mongolian Trials Boost China Wind?: Inner Mongolian experiments are meant to set a fresh direction for China’s wind industry. But technological and financial hurdles could dash hopes for a transformation

10 Solar Projects That Can Help Fight India Blackouts: India’s massive grid blackouts this month have been the subject of much debate and much concern — and from a clean power perspective, highlights a market where there is much opportunity. But there are actually a good deal of projects in India that are already focused on installing solar projects, both for rural villages and larger utility-scale programs. Here’s a list from GigaOm.


BY THE NUMBERS

The PV Shift in China

70 percent: World's solar panel production capacity controlled by China.
90 percent: Chinese solar output going to Europe and U.S. markets.
35 percent: Yingli Solar’s revenues that are expected to come from domestic sales in 2012, up from 6 percent in 2010.
2,000: Estimated number of companies in the country's photovoltaic industry, half of which are focusing on producing solar products.


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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

July 23-Aug. 6, 2012 Asia Report: World Takes Hard Look at India Grid, Promises of Solar
July 16-23, 2012 Asia Report: Japan Taps Into Promising Geothermal Potential
July 2-16, 2012 Asia Report: The Dawn on Japan’s Offshore Wind Era
June 25-July 2, 2012 Asia Report: Japan Enters Renewables Era With Major Developments
June 18-25, 2012 Asia Report: Toshiba Plans Japan’s Largest PV Plant
June 11-18, 2012 Asia Report: U.K.-Korea Unite Behind Offshore, Tidal Potential
June 4-11, 2012 Asia Report: As EU Trade Case Looms, Market May Shift East
May 21-29, 2012 Asia Report: China’s Solar Giants Unite to Confront Tariff
May 14-21, 2012 Asia Report: Solar Stocks Tumble After Solar Ruling
May 7-14, 2012 Asia Report: Solar Dumping Announcement Set for May 17
May 1-7, 2012 Asia Report: European Ruling Could Cut Into Palm Oil Exports
April 23-30, 2012 Asia Report: U.S., India Strike $125 Million Investment Deal
April 16-23, 2012 Asia Report: Japan Solar FiT Likely In Line With Industry Request
April 9-16, 2012 Asia Report: Are China’s Sinovel, Goldwind Seeking Vestas Takeover

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