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Summary:

It’s a rough world out there for solar, but it’s easier when you have friends. That’s why Germany’s Q-Cells and China’s LDK Solar are forming a joint venture to build solar power plants in Europe and China. The companies said today that they’ve already started work […]

It’s a rough world out there for solar, but it’s easier when you have friends. That’s why Germany’s Q-Cells and China’s LDK Solar are forming a joint venture to build solar power plants in Europe and China. The companies said today that they’ve already started work on their first project, a 40-megawatt photovoltaic plant in Europe.

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The partnership makes a lot of sense in a tight economy. The venture will use solar wafers from LDK and solar cells from Q-Cells, and the companies said it won’t require any additional working capital or other funding. Because this team-up encompasses the supply of both solar wafers and solar cells, it could give the pair a financial advantage in the large-scale solar market, and the companies said they can cut costs on the projects by taking advantage of their complementary business models and regional expertise.

The move follows a wave of consolidation in the solar industry, with other players in the industry also pairing up their solar supplies.

The exact site and the cost of the new plant weren’t disclosed, but the companies said the venture is already in talks with potential buyers of the plant, and that the venture is in the planning stages for future projects in China. The companies didn’t say how big the future projects will be, and although 40 MW is on the high end of currently operating solar power plants, it’s nowhere near as big as some plants that are in the works.

The new venture won’t be exclusive (which means the companies can still go off and do other projects with other partners), but both companies also said the venture will help speed up the move to grid parity for the solar industry. This is the first project from the joint venture, but LDK already has two major supply deals with Q-Cells. Last September, Q-Cells signed a deal to buy up to 5 gigawatts of solar wafers from LDK between 2009 and 2018. That’s in addition to a deal back in 2007 for more than 6 GW worth of solar wafers.

Photo of Q-Cells’ headquarters courtesy of Q-Cells.

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