Hanergy Solar flags new CIGS kit

Hanergy Solar claims it will launch a new generation of thin-film PV production equipment based on Solibro’s technology by the end of 2013, in a move that could boost the profile of copper, indium, selenide, gallium (CIGS) technology within the PV sector.

“We expect to see a breakthrough by year end,” chief executive Frank Dai Mingfang tells the South China Morning Post.

Listed in Hong Kong, Hanergy Solar – formerly known as Apollo Solar – is majority owned by the Beijing-based Hanergy Group, which itself owns 6GW of hydropower capacity in China. 

Over the past two years the Hanergy Group has acquired three leading – if financially troubled – players in the CIGS space: Q Cells’ subsidiary Solibro, MiaSolé and, most recently, Global Solar Energy. 

CIGS is the thin-film technology seen as having the most potential for competing over the long run with traditional crystalline-silicon PV.

Earlier this week Hanergy Solar confirmed it will pay the Hanergy Group – effectively its parent company – HK$352.8m ($45.5m) for Solibro and its intellectual property, in line with what the Hanergy Group paid for Solibro last year.

Solibro has 135MW of production capacity in Thalheim, Germany – second in the CIGS world behind only Japan’s Solar Frontier – and a research lab in Uppsala, Sweden, where the company was founded. 

Hanergy Solar also revealed that will imminently receive a large slug of money it is owed by its parent company, which is its largest customer. 

The Hanergy Group claims to have several gigawatts of PV production capacity in China – its factories kitted out with Hanergy Solar machines – and is emerging as one of the country’s largest developers of PV power plants. 

The Hanergy Group accounted for more than 60% of the HK$5.8bn Hanergy Solar was owed as of 30 June. 

The full HK$3.7bn the Hanergy Group owes Hanergy Solar should be paid within four weeks, according to the latter’s chief financial officer, Ronnie Hui Ka-wah. 

Hanergy Solar posted revenues of HK$2.76bn last year, down considerably from its peak of a few years earlier, but – thanks to its relationship with the Hanergy Group – a relatively strong showing by the standards of the PV toolmaking sector. 

Hanergy Solar shares are up more than 122% this year as part of the broader PV rally, even as the Hang Seng index of Hong Kong-listed stocks has fallen 5%.