Suntech Announces Initiatives To Expand Share Of U.S. Solar Market

October 05, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. announced three initiatives designed to significantly expand its share of the U.S. solar market. The initiatives include the establishment of a joint venture with MMA Renewable Ventures, forming Gemini Solar Development Company LLC. Gemini Solar will seek to develop, finance, own and operate large-scale PV projects greater than 10MW. Projects built by the joint venture will be co-owned and operated by funds to be formed by Suntech and MMA Renewable Ventures that will also seek to attract third party investors.

Suntech also announced the acquisition of EI Solutions, a California-based commercial solar system integration company. EI Solutions has designed and implemented solar projects for many U.S. companies including Google, Disney, and Sony Pictures. Suntech claims that the acquisition will enable it to provide complete solar solutions to commercial, utility, and government customers in the U.S. The new subsidiary will be named Suntech Energy Solutions and will be headed by Andrew Beebe, EI Solutions’s current President.

Suntech also announced a rapid expansion of its U.S. dealer network to increase penetration into the residential roof-top and small commercial system solar market and build brand recognition with downstream solar integrators.

Combined, Suntech claims that these initiatives will enable it to serve more completely the full breadth of U.S. customers, from residential and commercial building owners to utilities and government. In addition, as Suntech continues to invest in cost reduction technologies, the company is also increasing its efforts to seek out those balance-of-system components that best meet customer demand for a truly integrated offering. The company claims that this vertical integration will enable it to optimize solar system composition and performance, and drive down costs throughout the solar value chain. As a result of these initiatives, Suntech plans to triple sales to the U.S. in 2009.

"These initiatives mark a new era of growth for Suntech in the U.S.," said Roger Efird, President of Suntech America. "With the acquisition of EI Solutions and our joint venture with MMA Renewable Ventures, we can now offer a fully integrated solar solution to commercial, utility and government customers. This will provide us with a much closer relationship with these customers and enable us to capture a significant portion of the rapidly growing market for larger systems, particularly in the utility sector. At the same time, our rapidly expanding dealer network will allow us to significantly increase our penetration in the residential and small commercial market."