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The Chinese Penetrate the US Solar Utility Market – exclusive playground of First Solar and Sunpower

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The US Solar Utility Market has been the preserve of the 2 largest US Solar Module Players Sunpower and First Solar.While other Solar Panel Makers have won small deals,these 2 companies have dominated the US Utility Market so far.Sunpower has been very successful in the commercial,municipal and utility segments winning a huge number of deals even as its residential dominance evaporated.The bigger Chinese solar producers like Trina,Yingli,Suntech had already taken over the residential market in California with their much cheaper prices.Now even the larger utility market is under threat from the low cost companies from Asia.Note upstream producers like LDK and GCL Poly are also targeting the system development market in US through acquisitions and alliances.The 250 MW Sempra Generation solar plant being built in Arizona will source Suntech modules and will  be completed by 2013.This is a huge order win by Suntech which is the largest module producer in 2010 and could see other Chinese producers using this as a template to push out Sunpower and First Solar.

Note Japanese solar leader Sharp bought a US Developer Recurrent Energy in a very expensive deal in order to push its own modules into the US market.With Europe fast reaching a point of saturation,the US Market is the next big solar market for the module producers .OCI which is one of the biggest polysilicon producers also bought a US Solar EPC as it seeks to establish a foothold in the US market.

Suntech Power Holdings Signs 150-MW Solar-Panel Deal With Sempra

Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (STP) said Thursday it had signed a deal with Sempra Energy (SRE) to supply solar panels for a 150-megawatt solar farm in Arizona.China-based Suntech, the world’s largest solar-panel supplier, said some of the solar panels will be made at its Arizona factory, although most will be shipped from its facilities in China.Suntech plans to supply about 800,000 solar panels in a deal worth “hundreds of millions” of dollars, said Steven Chan, president of Suntech America.Suntech’s sales to developers of utility-scale projects like Sempra are likely to jump from less than one-third in 2010 to one-half of total U.S. sales this year, Chan said. The company has more than 350 megawatts in North American utility deals that it hasn’t announced yet, he said.”The great thing about this is that…when you work on these sorts of projects you can build a backlog for the future, and it creates a more predictable sales picture going forward,” Chan said in an interview.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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