By Herman K. Trabish
First Solar (NSDQ: FSLR) has no projects built or under construction in China. That is significant because the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese government to build a two-gigawatt PV solar power plant in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia in late 2009.
The plan was to develop a 30-megawatt first phase as a demonstration project while developing manufacturing capability and a supply chain. Construction was scheduled for June 1, 2010. Phases two (100 megawatts) and three (870 megawatts) would follow by 2014. The last gigawatt would come by 2019.
With GTM Research forecasting 5.5 gigawatts of new solar capacity to be built in China in 2012, the market looks tempting. There is a national goal to build 40 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2020. And there are feed-in tariffs, for which First Solar said its Inner Mongolia project qualifies.
Despite its financial travails since 2009, First Solar has by no means given up the dream of taking its price-competitive cadmium telluride thin-film PV technology to China. It recently added Asia energy veteran Bruce Yung as Managing Director and Vice President of Business Development for China. But, realistically, can a U.S. developer do business in China?
The Inner Mongolia project,” wrote GTM Research Solar Market Analyst Scott Burger, “does serve as a good example for American companies’ ability to succeed in the Chinese market.”
If interested in discussing energy matters, you can contact Court Rich, director of Rose Law Group’s Renewable Energy Implementation Department, email@example.com