Astronergy Secures $50M for PV Manufacturing in China

 By Emma Ritch, Cleantech Group

New funds are expected to help Chint Group subsidiary to reach 380 MW of production capacity by 2010.

Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China-based Astronergy said it has secured $50 million from two China-based private equity investors.

The funds came from Cybernaut China Investment and Shanghai Lianhe Investment.

Astronergy, a subsidiary of the Chint Group, plans to reach 380 megawatts of production capacity by 2010. The Chint Group is a leading player in the low-voltage electrical, power transmission, and power distribution industries in China.

Founded in October 2006, Astronergy reached 100 MW of annual production capacity in July.

Astronergy says it produces single crystalline silicon solar cells with average conversion efficiency of more than 16.5 percent. The company is developing the technology to manufacture amorphous and microcrystalline silicon tandem thin film photovoltaic modules with an average conversion efficiency of more than 9 percent.

Astronergy says it expects to be among the first companies to reduce the PV module cost to below $1 per watt. Tempe, Ariz.-based thin-film giant First Solar recently said it was able to produce thin-film panels for less than $1 per watt. First Solar expects to reach 1,100 MW manufacturing capacity in 2009 (see First Solar buys OptiSolar's pipeline of projects for $400M).

Cybernaut is a partner of U.S. venture capital fund New Enterprise Associates. The firm established two venture capital funds in December with a combined 650 million RMB ($95.24 million) to invest in clean energy and health care (see Ag tech, fuel cells thrive in busy week for deals).

Source: Cleantech Group LLC




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