ET Solar Group, a Chinese solar-panel maker, plans an initial public offering for its project-development unit in the U.S. to raise $250 million.
ET Solar Energy Corp. targets the share sale by the first quarter of 2015 after “seeing more positive signs from the U.S. capital market on solar downstream companies,” Chief Executive Officer Dennis She said in a phone interview from the company’s Nanjing headquarter yesterday.
The unit backed by Tsing Capital and NewMargin Ventures expects to close a round of private financing to raise $30 million to $40 million in April, he said.
ET Solar along with its Chinese peer JinkoSolar Holding Co. have spun off units to attract funding, investing more in their own solar farms and broadening sources of revenue. China’s top five panel makers led by Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. are planning at least 4.6 gigawatts of projects this year, almost quadruple the capacity completed last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The unit plans to develop 300 megawatts of solar farms this year, more than doubling its total installation in 2013, She said. The projects will be in the U.K., the U.S., Mexico, Chile, Japan, China and Israel.
ET Solar earlier this month said it started construction of an 8.4-megawatt solar plant in the U.K. as part of its target of 80 megawatts of installations this year.
Developing projects “will become our main business this year,” She said. It will contribute to more than 50 percent of the group’s sales in 2014, compared with 37 percent a year ago.
The group, which can produce a gigawatt of solar panels annually, aims to use all the panels for its own projects in five years, She said.
The company plans to acquire a 100-megawatt Malaysian panel factory and triple capacity at the plant, She said. He didn’t disclose the target’s name and financing terms.
Panel prices will be “very stable” this year as increasing demand counters oversupply, he said. ET Solar manufacturing business was break-even last year.
The U.S., the U.K and Japan are its biggest market, he said.
One gigawatt can power about a million Chinese homes.
— With assistance by Feifei Shen