Hanergy Thin Film Solar Venture to Start First in Saipan

Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd., the Chinese solar company whose stock soared sixfold the past year, agreed to set up a venture with Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd. to build solar plants in the Pacific.

The companies signed a memorandum of understanding for the joint venture special-purpose company to construct thin-film solar plants first on Saipan, a U.S. territory in the Northern Marianas, then other Pacific islands, Hanergy said Monday.

Besides Saipan, where Imperial Pacific is investing $7.1 billion to build a casino resort, venues for the venture’s project development plans include the Marianas, Guam, Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, according to an e-mailed statement. Imperial Pacific has secured land-use rights for the 100-megawatt project in Saipan with a 10-megawatt first phase.

Saipan has “a power supply shortage in the local area, leading to high electricity costs,” Lam Yat Ming, Hanergy’s executive director, said Monday at a news conference in Hong Kong. The estimated payback period of the thin-film power station will be three years, the executive said.

The surge in Hanergy’s Hong Kong-listed shares have made it the most valuable solar manufacturer with a market value of HK$288 billion ($37 billion). Selling manufacturing lines to its parent, Beijing-based Hanergy Holding Group, was its main source of revenue in 2014 amid a push to diversify revenue.

Sales from building or selling ground-mounted or rooftop solar plants were 36 percent of Hanergy Thin Film’s revenue last year. Thin-film solar cells are made with layers of photovoltaic material on such materials as glass, plastic and metal.

The venture will buy all panels required for the projects from Hanergy and prioritize supplying power generated to Imperial Pacific. Hanergy said it will also provide technical advice and help build, operate and maintain the projects.

— With assistance by Feifei Shen, and Guo Aibing

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