Monday, May 24, 2010

"First Solar awaiting China decision on subsidy" (FSLR)

The stock is down $2.75 at $111.20.
When First Solar announced the China deal we headlined the post "First Solar’s Gift to China: How to Build a Solar Farm (FSLR)", thinking they were going to get their technology ripped off.
CEO Michael Ahearn says First Solar plans to carry out an ‘IP transfer’ by training Chinese companies how to engineer solar power projects.

First Solar has something the Chinese want, and it plans to offer it up for free as part of a deal to build a 2-gigawatt solar farm in Ordos, Inner Mongolia.

The company's CEO, Michael Ahearn, said in an interview that he will be dispatching a team to China to work with one or a couple of Chinese construction companies that will effectively teach the Chinese companies how to go big with solar....

In April we learned that FSLR may be moving past Cadmium Telluride "UPDATED: First Solar Looks to CIGS Technology (FSLR)", in which case FSLR may not be giving up the good stuff.

Here's the latest, from Reuters:

U.S. company First Solar (FSLR.O), which plans to build the world's largest solar power plant in Inner Mongolia, could hear from China in coming months the amount of subsidy it will get, the company's president said.

"Right now, the National Energy Administration is still deliberating over those prices," Bruce Sohn told Reuters in an interview during a U.S. clean energy trade mission last week led by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

The Chinese state agency "is establishing a strategy to move to a concessionary bidding process over the course of the next few months," Sohn said.

First Solar is the world's lowest cost producer of solar modules, a key building block of solar power systems.

Last year, the Tempe, Arizona company signed a framework agreement with the government of Ordos City in Inner Mongolia to build a 2 gigawatt solar power plant in the sun-drenched region.

Sohn said traveling with Locke was beneficial because it allowed him to sit in on meetings with China's key energy decision makers at the NEA and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's powerful economic planning agency.

The company plans to build the mammoth Ordos City facility in stages over the next decade, starting with a 30 megawatt demonstration project to show it can fulfill the needs of China's national utility, the State Grid.

But "we have to have clarity for the price signals and the value of the electricity coming off" the project, Sohn said.

First Solar wants China to establish a "feed-in tariff," similar to that used in Germany, to subsidize the solar power project, he said....MORE