Hanwha’s solar biz to bounce back

Hanwha Group predicts that its solar energy businesses will bounce back thanks to lower production costs and a steady increase in demand, the company said Sunday.

The conglomerate said it expects that the quarterly sales of its energy business units ― Hanwha Q Cells and Hanwha SolarOne ― will turn black in the January­March period, the first time since the second quarter in 2011. The group suffered an operating loss of 104 billion won last year in its energy-related businesses.

Stock market analysts also forecast the conglomerate’s solar energy business affiliates will post an operating profit of over 100 billion won ($96.2 million) in 2015.

“The two companies’ market shares in Europe, North and Central Americas, Japan and China are increasing, leading the rapid growth of the industry,” they said.

The firm added that the outlook for the market this year is especially positive because of the short supply in polysilicon, a material used as feedstock in manufacturing solar cells and other solar energy applications.

According to NPD Solarbuzz, an information provider for the photovoltaic industry, electricity production capacity worldwide is expected to reach 50 gigawatts, up 30 percent from the previous year’s 38 gigawatts.

Hanwha Group said the stable price of polysilicon also contributes to the bright outlook for the industry.

“Polysilicon has been sold at over $20 per kilogram between January and April, and it’s the first time since the third quarter of 2012 that it maintained such a price range,” it said. “Our plants are operating on full capacity, and their quality is excellent.”

Hanwha Q Cells is trying to take advantage of its networks in European countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Denmark after Hanwha Group acquired German solar cell maker Q Cells in October 2012.

On April 16, it set up a photovoltaic power generator at an apartment complex for the aged in Copenhagen, according to Hanwha Group. The generator can produce up to 345 kilowatts of electricity, about 56 percent of the energy consumed by the residents.

In March, it completed building a solar power plant in Cambridgeshire, England, in partnership with U.K.-based renewable energy developer AGRenewables. By Yi Whan-woo The korea times

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