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Hanergy Acquiring Engensa to Expand Into U.K. Residential Solar

Hanergy Holding Group Ltd., a Chinese renewable-energy company, purchased London-based Engensa Ltd. to expand into the U.K. residential solar market.

Hanergy, based in Beijing, bought the solar installer and financing provider for an undisclosed amount, Engensa said yesterday.

The deal is Hanergy’s third solar acquisition outside China in less than a year, after its January deal for thin-film panel maker MiaSole Inc. in the U.S. and its June purchase of Q-Cells SE unit Solibro in Germany. Asian companies including LDK Solar Co. and Hanwha Corp. are snapping up overseas peers to gain access to large markets, as well as technology.

“This is the first acquisition of a U.K. installer by a manufacturer and the first Chinese manufacturer to invest in the residential market,” Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said by e-mail. “Hanergy, which claims to have 2 gigawatts of thin-film silicon manufacturing capacity already, probably means to find a sales channel.”

Unlike conventional panels, thin-film units use much less or no silicon and aren’t at risk of any tariffs resulting from a European Union probe into Chinese producers’ trade practices.

“Thin-film solar PV is very well placed to succeed in the future due to its lower manufacturing costs, enhanced appearance and because it’s not subject to any of the recently proposed import tariffs,” Toby Ferenczi, Engensa’s co-founder, said in an e-mailed statement. “Our partnership with Hanergy is exciting because it is one of the first major attempts to exploit this technology in the residential market.”

Engensa, founded in 2009, is among companies benefiting from growth in the U.K. residential solar market. Installations expanded more than 10-fold in 2012 to an annual 720 megawatts, or 90 percent of the entire solar market, BNEF data show.

Ben Goldsmith, son of late billionaire financier Sir James Goldsmith, was a founding investor in the closely held company. Hanergy officials in Beijing weren’t immediately available to comment when Bloomberg called outside of regular office hours.

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