Canadian Solar moves away from direct panel sales

In an interview with news agency Bloomberg, Michael Potter said the company would follow a growing trend among photovoltaic panel manufacturers of developing and selling solar farms stocked with its panels and would eventually retain some of the farms for their long term revenues.

Canadian Solar, which is headquartered in Ontario but manufactures panels in China, is developing 260 MW of solar farms in the province which it expects to sell for around C$1.3 billion (US$1.3 billion) over the coming 18 months.

And on December 3, the company announced a $139 million loan from Deutsche Bank to build five photovoltaic farms totaling 49 MW, in the province, with TransCanada Corp agreeing to buy them and sell power to Ontario Power Authority under a 20-year PPA.

First Solar, one of the few module manufacturers to register profits in Q2 and Q3 2012, led the move into developing solar farms. It is a trend other panel makers are following after the price of panels slumped over the last two years and is expected to continue falling in the immediate future, according to analysts IHS iSuppli.