Infigen in Talks to Reassess Partnership With China’s Suntech

Infigen Energy Ltd., an Australia wind farm developer, said it’s in talks with Suntech Power Holdings Co. to re-evaluate their solar partnership after the Chinese company’s main unit was pulled into bankruptcy.

“Suntech’s financial condition has deteriorated substantially since we formed the joint venture,” Miles George, managing director of Sydney-based Infigen, said in an Aug. 23 telephone interview. “We are in discussions with them about how we can deal with that situation. Obviously their position has changed dramatically.”

The biggest unit of Suntech, once the world’s largest solar-panel maker, was forced into bankruptcy in March after the company defaulted on $541 million of bonds. Infigen and Suntech won approval from the New South Wales state government in late 2010 and early 2011 to develop about 150 megawatts of solar farms, according to the Australian company’s website.

A voicemail message left today on Suntech’s media line in San Francisco and an e-mail sent to its main office in Wuxi, China weren’t immediately returned.

Infigen is seeking federal government funding to develop a 36-megawatt solar project in New South Wales, George said. The Infigen and Suntech venture was referred to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency by former Resources Minister Martin Ferguson last year after losing a bid for funds in the government’s Solar Flagships program.

Infigen is still considering the sale of its 141-megawatt Capital wind farm in New South Wales state after hiring advisers earlier this year to test the interest in the asset, George said. The company is studying whether it’s a good time to sell given uncertainty about the government policies that will be in place after the election next month, he said.

Infigen has six wind farms in Australia with a total capacity of about 557 megawatts and has a stake in 18 wind farms in the U.S., according to its website. The company also has solar projects in the U.S.

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