With China's LDK Solar Co making preparations to buy Germany's Sunways AG, China now has access to the second-largest solar-panel maker in the world, a new technology and a distribution network in the world's biggest photovoltaic market.
Sunways shares were up the most in six months in Frankfurt yesterday following LDK offering to purchase the Constance-based solar-cell and module maker for around €24.2 million excluding contributions in kind. The acquisition, which would be the first by a Chinese solar-energy company in Germany, a country that saw around 7,400 MW solar capacity installed in 2010.
The contributions in kind include Sunways taking indirect ownership in a Chinese company, to give the German manufacturer access to module production in China as also sales outlets for inverters.
German panel makers are finding the going tough as competition from Asia rises with increasing capacity at Chinese manufacturers leading to price declines that contributed to insolvency filings in December by Solar Millennium AG, a project developer headquartered in Erlangen, Germany, and Berlin- based module maker Solon SE.
In October 2010, Solar Millenium joint venture Solar Trust of America had received approval from the US government to set up the world's largest solar power project, the $6-billion Blythe solar power project, billed at that time to save one million tons of carbon dioxide annually (See: US approves building world's largest solar plant in California).
According to analysts, consolidation of the solar industry had started with recent insolvencies pointing to reduction of overcapacity.
According to the Beijing-based Energy Research Institute at the National Development and Reform Commission, the solar-panel supply glut in China might lead to a consolidation, cutting the number of domestic manufacturers to 15 within five years. The Chinese Renewable Energy Society had estimated the number of panel makers at 330.