First Solar to Target Japanese Rooftops with TetraSun Purchase

Pubblicato su 10 apr 2013
First Solar  TetraSun 
Apr 10, 2013 - First Solar Inc. agreed to buy TetraSun, a startup developing photovoltaic technology for the rooftop market.

TetraSun's solar panels are more efficient than First Solar's thin-film panels and better suited for small rooftop systems, Chief Executive Officer Jim Hughes said at an analyst meeting yesterday. He plans to initially market TetraSun products in Japan.

The deal fills a gap for First Solar, which doesn't market its panels for rooftop systems. It also gives the company access to Japan, which is expected to become the second-largest solar market this year. The purchase is a departure for First Solar because TetraSun's technology uses silicon.

"Japan is the highest value, space-constrained market so that's why we're starting there," Hughes said in an interview after the event.

TetraSun's proprietary design can convert more than 21 percent of the energy in sunlight into electricity, according to a statement. It uses silicon, the material used by most solar manufacturers including the Chinese producers that dominate the market. TetraSun's panels have copper electrodes instead of silver, which reduces costs, the company said in July. Terms weren't disclosed.

Rooftop Market

"With TetraSun, they get this new entrance to the rooftop market they'd pretty much abandoned," said Ben Kallo, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. in San Francisco who attended the meeting and has a neutral rating on the shares. "The efficiency they're talking about puts them in a very competitive position to play in the markets that SunPower's in."

SunPower Corp. began offering solar leases for residential rooftop systems in 2011 and said in August the business may generate as much as 25 percent of sales by mid-2013.

"It's a complementary technology set that opens to us the entire market," Hughes said during a webcast of the analyst meeting. First Solar's panels use cadmium-telluride sandwiched between sheets of glass.

First Solar is buying TetraSun from JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. and other investors including TetraSun's management. All 14 employees will remain with the San Jose, California-based company.

Japanese Market

First Solar expects to open a factory that will produce about 25 megawatts to 50 megawatts of TetraSun panels next year for the Japanese market. Hughes said he hasn't decided yet where to build the plant.

The company expects to sell 1.6 gigawatts to 1.8 gigawatts of thin-film panels this year, generating revenue of $3.8 billion to $4 billion, according to a forecast issued yesterday.

About 64 percent of First Solar's $1.08 billion in sales in the fourth quarter came from its systems business, which builds and sells large solar farms, and the rest from selling panels.

The forecast reassured analysts who have been concerned that the company isn't selling new projects fast enough to replace the ones it's completing, said Kallo.

The company expects revenue of about $12 billion over the next three years, Chief Financial Officer Mark Widmar said at the analyst meeting. About a third of that forecast is due to existing contracts and the rest will come from anticipated sales, he said.

source: Bloomberg
Profili di ENF per aziende sudette in questo articolo

First Solar (Pannelli Fotovoltaici):
First Solar (Riciclaggio):
TetraSun (Materiali):
Le notizie dall’industria fotovoltaica vengono pubblicate gratuitamente, invia le tue notizie a