Bursting solar deals

If I’m an alternative energy investor, should the surge in solar projects make me think twice in investing in this industry? They reminded me of the dot.com and housing boom before their bubbles burst.

The same sentiment is partially echoed in this article published last week in ICIS Chemical Business (Disclaimer: I work for ICIS). Some consultants think investors especially in the US are going way overboard in tossing money to clean technology ventures.

“Just look at the amount of funds that these companies are raising on the back of minimal track records. There is such a resemblance to the dot-com boom that it has to be a worry.”

So far, the solar market seems to be doing well as investments are not just centered in the US and Europe, but also in developing countries. We will see how it goes but for now, here are some of the solar projects and investments recently announced worldwide.

  • GE Energy and Grupo Corporative Landon invest $350m in Fotowatio, one of Spain’s largest solar power project developers.
  • Sunrise Solar Corp. has entered the final stages of negotiations with several Korean and Chinese suppliers solar technology suppliers.
  • Trina also signed a contract with US-based Spire Corporation, which provides turnkey solar factories and capital equipment to manufacture photovoltaic modules worldwide.
  • Evolution Solar acquired Synergy Design and Development Company, a Hong Kong R&D and Procurement Company based in Shanghai, China.
  • Australian solar panel distributor RFI signed an agreement to partner with solar module manufacturer Suntech Power Holdings.
  • US solar panel installer Akeena Solar will expand its operations into Connecticut.
  • Hoku Scientific signed a $284m deal to supply polysilicon to photovoltaic cell manufacturer Tianwei New Energy (Chengdu) Wafer over a 10-year period beginning 2010.
  • Day4 Energy developed a photovoltaic module technology specifically designed for application with solar cells based on Upgraded Metallurgical Grade (UMG) silicon material.


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