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EDPR Helps Chinese Solar Technology Enter European Market

Portugal’s EDP Renováveis (EDPR) has ordered up 39MW of solar modules from China’s Suntech, as Europe’s second largest wind farm operator pushes into the PV sector sooner than expected.The panels will be installed at four ground-mounted PV parks under construction in Romania, all expected to be brought on line by early 2013.

EDPR says it has brought forward its strategy of diversifying into “new renewable technologies” – a step it had not planned to take until at least 2014. The company owns wind farms totaling more than 7GW around the world, and, among European companies, is second only to Spain’s Iberdrola in terms of installed capacity.

EDPR’s solar projects are located in southern Romania, and are expected to operate at a load factor of about 15%, or the equivalent of about 1,200 hours per year.The arrays will generate six green certificates for each MWh produced – and the certificates will have a floor and ceiling price of €28 ($36) and €56, respectively, for 15 years.

“It’s exciting and motivating to see companies like EDP Renováveis focused on growing their portfolio of solar installations around the world,” says Alejandro Moreno, Suntech’s country head for Spain and Portugal.

The deal brings a potentially huge new client into Suntech’s fold, and represents the first major order in Europe for the Chinese module giant since Suntech Europe president Jerry Stokes was unexpectedly replaced last month by Vedat Gürgeli, who had previously acted as vice president for sales and marketing.

Suntech has been buffeted by a stream of unsettling news over the past two months, including the appointment of a new chief executive, the idling of 25% of its cell capacity in China, and a warning from the New York Stock Exchange that it will be de-listed if its share price does not improve.

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