Neo Solar Power Corp (新日光能源), one of the nation’s largest solar cell makers, yesterday announced it had approved a plan to invest US$50 million in a joint venture to expand its presence in the solar power-plant market.
A first in Asia, the joint venture is to operate as a “yield company,” Neo Solar said. A yield company is usually a publicly traded firm that owns assets that generate solar power and produces a steady and predictable profit, it added, saying the business model is usually adopted by energy firms.
“Through this joint venture, Neo Solar will actively invest and build solar power plants to grow profits,” it said in a statement.
Neo Solar posted a net loss of NT$492 million (US$16 million) in the first quarter as prices of solar cells fell due to a slump in demand.
Solar power plants offer stable and long-term cash flow for operators, Neo Solar said.
The company is to hold about 40 percent of the joint venture, which is to provide a new and larger channel for selling Neo Solar’s solar cells and modules in the future, it said.
Neo Solar said General Energy Solutions Inc (永旺能源), a subsidiary that builds solar power systems, would work with the new joint venture to gain more orders to build solar power plants around the world.
Neo Solar did not name its partners, saying only that potential investors include a global solar system developer and equity funds.
To raise operating funds, the joint venture is set to launch an initial public offering on the Hong Kong stock market at the end of this year.
Separately, Giga Solar Material Corp (碩禾), the nation’s largest solar material producer, yesterday launched its first ground-mount solar power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, via a solar power system building subsidiary.
With annual capacity of 17 megawatts, the Japanese plant is expected to generate 20 million units of electricity this year, which would be sufficient for 5,000 households.
Giga Solar said it expects the solar power plant to generate at least NT$125 million in revenue this year and to contribute NT$2 earnings per share for the company.
The company obtained a 20-year contract from the local government to supply electricity, it said.
Giga Solar shares jumped 2.1 percent to NT$536, while Neo Solar’s stock price plunged 6.35 percent to NT$19.9 in Taipei trading yesterday.
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