United PV to Spend $1.5 Billion to Buy Solar Projects This Year

United Photovoltaics Group Ltd., a Chinese solar-farm operator, will spend as much as 9 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) to buy 1 gigawatt of projects this year, more than tripling the pace of its acquisitions.

The Hong Kong-based company plans to run more projects as China “pushes solar as a strategic emerging industry,” Chief Executive Officer Alan Li said in an interview in Beijing.

The plans echo Chinese state policy to more than triple capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2020. The country may add as much as a record 19 gigawatts of solar this year, after 13 gigawatts in 2014, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. United PV bought six solar projects with a total installed capacity of 310 megawatts last year, according to its annual report in April.

The company, whose stock is up 37 percent this year, said this month it agreed to buy 930 megawatts of solar projects from Hareon Solar Technology Co. for 8.8 billion yuan and a further 210 megawatts of projects from Zhongneng Guodian Photovoltaic Green Ecological Cooperation and Development Jiangsu Co.

United PV will also start constructing its own projects at the end of this year, aiming to build 30 percent of its plants in future, Li said on Thursday. It also plans to acquire solar parks in Europe and the U.S., according to the CEO.

The company had a profit of HK$367 million last year after a loss of HK$2.3 billion in 2013 as it bought more projects and raised electricity sales. United PV and its associates together owned 572 megawatts of solar power plants at the end of 2014.

The operator is also seeking to use more crowd funding by the year-end, Li said. In 2014, it raised 10 million yuan for a 1-megawatt solar plant in the southern city of Shenzhen.

— With assistance by Feifei Shen

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