The pv magazine weekly news digest

Vladimir Putin’s controversial annexation of Crimea looks set to generate movement in Russia’s solar sector after the government unveiled plans to sell former Ukrainian PV plants in the region to Russian energy giants and foreign investors.

Chinese-owned Norwegian group Elkem AS completed the acquisition of REC Solar, the largest supplier of solar panels in Europe. Bluestar Elkem – a division of state-owned China National Chemical Corporation and Elkem parent company, finalized the purchase of Oslo-based REC Solar for a reported $640 million.

German utility giant E.ON is teaming up with U.S. company Sungevity in the German energy market. The parternship follows the companies’ collaboration in the Netherlands and marks the second major step in their joint expansion in Europe.

In France, the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy has announced a 50 MW tender for PV and battery installations in the country’s overseas departments and territories, known as the DOM-TOM, as well as in the Mediterranean island of Corsica.

Japanese thin film producer and project developer Solar Frontier has entered into agreement to supply and construct a 100 MW pipeline of projects in the U.K. The first project is set to begin construction iu the third quarter. The deal follows Solar Frontier’s supply of system components for a 7.15 MW PV power plant in Banwell, England.

In China, JinkoSolar signed a two-year, 1 GW module supply deal with China Minsheng New Energy (CMNE), a subsidiary of China Minsheng Investment Corp. The modules will be used to develop PV power plant projects in China in 2015 and 2016.

Australia’s commercial rooftop sector could receive an unexpected boost from a federal budget provision targeted at small businesses that was approved this week. The measure would allow businesses with annual revenues of under AUD$2 million (US$1.6 million) to immediately write off purchases up to AUD$20,000 (US$16,000) against their tax bill.

Taiwanese cell manufacturer Gintech Energy established a subsidiary in Thailand manufacture solar cells in the country with an initial investment of $45 million.

Quarterly increases

Leading German inverter manufacturer SMA saw strong sales growth in the first quarter as it expanded its global footprint after several troubled quarters.

In the U.S., residential installer Vivint Solar posted positive results across the board, including a 172% year-on-year revenue increase and a 131% rise in installed megawatts.