Hanergy buys US PV pacesetter Alta

Chinese PV group Hanergy has swooped to buy Alta Devices, a US thin-film specialist that has been among the industry’s technical pacesetters.

Hanergy said the acquisition will boost its capabilities in flexible, thin-film solar for the mobile and wearable device sector.

The Chinese group said it will particularly look for applications in areas such as emergency phone-charging, the automotive sector and web-based devices.

Hanergy CEO Li Hejun said: “Alta Devices’ thin-film solar technology allows more energy to be produced in lower light conditions than any other type of solar cell, giving it greater potential to power a wide range of mobile devices and equipment from phones to cars. It has the potential to change the way solar energy is used.”

California-based Alta Devices has managed a conversion efficiency of 30.8% for its gallium arsenide-based two-junction thin-film solar technology, among the highest in the world.

The US company was founded in 2008 by professors from Cal Tech and Berkeley .

CEO Chris Norris said: “This successful acquisition is built upon Alta Devices’ and Hanergy's shared belief that flexible, thin-film solar technology represents the future of the solar industry.”

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Hanergy has been among the most acquisitive of China’s big PV OEMs over the last few years.

Its purchases include Q-Cells’ thin-film subsidiary Solibro, and  US producers MiaSolé and Global Solar Energy.

The company is already working with electric vehicle giant Tesla on solar charging systems.