Hanergy Thin Film Power Group (Hanergy TF) is one of the stellar solar companies to emerge onto the main stage in recent times. However, this is more in terms of stock price than in major sales agreements. In his latest solar stock price analysis for pv magazine, the Trout Groups Adam Kropp noted:
Top-weighted Hanergy Thin Film Power Group continued to buck the trend [in February], adding another 29% despite minimal company-specific news flow.
But while it is true that the news flow is minimal, it would be incorrect to say that Hanergy has not been announcing any sales at all. Late last week Hanergy reported that fully-owned subsidiary equipment supplier Fujian Apollo would supply 600 MW of production equipment for BIPV applications. It is to supply the equipment to Shandong Macrolink New Resources Technology Limited, for a price including technical support of US$660,000 million.
Included in the deal is a commitment from Shandong Macrolink to purchase 3.6% of existing Hanergy TF shares, and 1.5 million new shares in Hanergy, a total of 3.48% of the companys enlarged share capital. The shares were offered at a discounted price. A much larger tranche of shares will be offered to Shandong Macrolink on the payment of 80% of the tool order.
In an equipment market where large sales are few and far between, the deal is significant, although the unusual payment terms raise questions about the true nature of the deal. There has even been some speculation that given the vast gap between Hanergys reported production capacity and its shipment reports that the equipment may be existing amorphous silicon tooling that the company is looking to unload.
Hanergy TF has also recently publisehd a master supply contract for modules rolling of its various thin film production lines. Hanergy made the announcement last week that it was to supply 1.5 GW of a-Si/Si-Ge thin film modules to Hanergy Group. It would also supply 5,300,000 square meters of BIPV modules and two supply deals for its CIGS modules.
While a supply deal would seem like a positive sign, the use of square meters for PV sales for the BIPV supply deal is rather unusual. As too is the lack of detail as to what the breakdown of the 1.5 GW of a-Si/Si-Ge module supply deal. Smart Solar Consulting CEO Goetz Fischbeck concludes that the deal raises as many questions as it does answers.
Hardly anybody in the industry uses this type of thin film modules anymore, Fischbeck told pv magazine. Without clear specifications provided for these modules it is hard to tell if there would be any demand for such modules in the general market, given the advances that have been achieved in terms of module efficiencies in all of the competing technologies. Fischbeck is also skeptical of the internal nature of the sales.
Overall it remains mysterious why Hanergy TF only wants to sell to its parent company. The 1.5 GW of shipments are to parent company Hanergy Group for its project business. In order to dispel all the rumors in the market the easiest move would be to sell some 10% to 15% of its production to outside customers so that everyone could verify the validity of the claims Hanergy TF makes with respect to the performance of its modules and the capacities in place, said Fischbeck.
The rumors to which the solar veteran refers have made it far beyond the solar industry media iteslf. The Financial Times in particular has written two scathing reports about Hanergy TFs tendency to book sales to its parent company and its accessing of high-cost financing.