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Asia Report: First Solar Enters Nascent Indonesian Market with 100-MW Deal

The world's largest thin film solar module maker, US-based First Solar, has struck a deal with Indonesian utility PT Pembangkitan Jawa Bali (PJB) to supply and build 100 MW of solar PV plants.

The deal is part of First Solar’s strategy of forging strategic alliances in fast-growing, sustainable energy markets worldwide and comes as Indonesia’s power sector moves to wean itself off polluting fossil fuels.

"This memorandum of understanding (MOU) underscores First Solar's belief that the Indonesian market has great potential as a sustainable market where solar power can be a meaningful part of the energy mix,” said Won Park, First Solar's senior manager of business development and sales in Southeast Asia.

Indonesia has an increasingly urgent need for reliable, cost-effective energy resources. With economic growth ranging from 6 percent to 6.5 percent, the country is starting to experience power shortages.

“Basically, as long as all of you [investors] have the commitment to make investments that are pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-poor and pro-environment, we will accept you with open arms,” energy and mineral resources minister Jero Wacik told a power industry conference in Bali.

“I only have one message: coal-based power plants are notorious for their horrible impact on the environment. Therefore, please use the clean technologies that have been invented lately,” he added.

IN THE NEWS

JA Solar faces possible delisting from NasdaqChina’s debt-laden JA Solar received a warning from Nasdaq that it could be delisted, making it the second solar company in less than a month to be put on notice by an exchange for failing to meet minimum share-price requirements. The solar equipment maker failed to meet the exchange's criteria for continued listing as the average closing price of its ADRs was less than $1.00 over the preceding 30 trading days as of 11 October.

SunPower to cut 17 percent of global workforceSunPower will idle some solar cell production lines in the Philippines and cut about 900 jobs, or 17 percent of its global workforce, as overcapacity continues to cast a shadow on solar equipment makers. The company will temporarily idle half of the 12 lines at its 330-MW Fab 2 cell manufacturing plant and 20 percent of its panel manufacturing in the Philippines.

Solar Frontier to shut one plant, boost output at otherJapan’s Solar Frontier will shut indefinitely its Miyazaki-Daini solar module plant to help its other factory, which has annual output capacity of 900MW, run at full pace next year. Concentrating production at the Kunitomi plant would enable Solar Frontier to produce up to 900 MW of solar modules in 2013, up 50 percent from 2012.

Samsung to build 84-MW offshore wind farm in KoreaSamsung Heavy Industries will build an 84-MW wind farm off the coast of South Korea’s Jeju island. The project will be one of the country’s first commercial offshore wind projects and the first to use Samsung’s 7-MW machine. The wind farm will be operated by Daejeong Offshore Wind Power, a joint venture set up by Samsung Heavy and state-run power company Korea Southern Power.

Taiwan to develop offshore wind with the help of Garrard HassanRenewable energy consultancy GL Garrad Hassan has agreed to help Taiwan develop its offshore wind capacity by conducting joint research projects and working together in areas such as technology, strategy and training. The island’s offshore wind sector could reach 3 GW of capacity by 2030. 

Australia’s Biopower partners Shanghai Electric on wave technologyAustralian wave energy developer BioPower Systems formed a "strategic alliance" with Shanghai Electric to develop wave energy technology on a commercial scale. Shanghai Electric will initially act as an observer for BioPower's pilot : project on Victoria’s cost and potentially move to building large components for BioPower if the technology proves to be commercially viable.

ON THE HORIZON

Solar Inverter shipments to reach record levelsFollowing a decline in the third quarter, global PV inverter shipments are forecast to reach a record of 8.6 GW in the fourth quarter, according to the latest report from IMS Research. An 18% year-on-year rise in global shipments will make the fourth quarter of 2012 the largest final quarter ever recorded. China is likely to become the world's largest inverter market next year. 

Indonesia Geothermal Sector Attracts Major DevelopmentIndonesia leaders have established attractive incentives for the development of geothermal. This has attracted big companies such as Panax, Mitsubishi, BP and Chevron for developing projects and establishing interest in the technology and competition for development.

Asian buyers of solar startups will need cash, patienceBig Asian manufacturers are scooping up next-generation U.S. solar technology on the cheap, but face a long slog to turn these start-ups into serious competitors for the Chinese panel makers that now dominate the market. 

A DEEPER LOOK

Solar PV costs set for another 30% fall in 2012Many headlines around the solar photovoltaic industry are missing the point. They focus relentlessly on the price wars, the company collapses, the lawsuits, and the tit-for-tat trade. Few headlines focus on what is truly significant in the long term: that the cost of solar PV is continuing to fall dramatically. This is what matters most, everything else is peripheral, argues Giles Parkinson.

Solyndra Sues Chinese Solar Makers: Entire NonsenseSolyndra has decided to try and sue several of the Chinese solar panel makers over the bankruptcy of the firm. This is entirely stuff and nonsense: Solyndra’s bankruptcy came as a result of a technological choice they made, not as a result of any subsidies to any other manufacturers, says Tim Worstall in this Forbes piece.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Aug. 21-Aug.28, 2012 Asia Report: US Accused of Killing India's Solar Energy Industry
Aug. 6-Aug. 20, 2012 Asia Report: South Korean Solar Companies Make Strong Push Into U.S. Market
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, 20120 Asia Report: Japan Enters Renewables Era With Major Developments
June 18-25, 2012 Asia Report: Toshiba Plans Japan’s Largest PV PlantJune 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


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Independent journalist with a background in sustainable business and ethical finance, the renewable and low-emission energy sectors, climate-change science and policy and the not-for-profit sector.

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