First Solar Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) is buying TetraSun, a company that makes technology for solar panels, for an undisclosed amount. The deal comes after several solar panel companies have filed for bankruptcy and liquidated due to increased competition from foriegn manufacturers coupled with rising manufacturing costs.
TetraSun develops cell architecture for solar photovoltaic panels that are more efficient to manufacture, requiring fewer steps, than multi crystalline silicon solar cells, which are also used in solar panels. TetraSun plans to start commercial-scale manufacturing of the technology in the second half of 2014.
First Solar develops photovoltaic solar systems which are used in solar panels. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. is selling TetraSun, but is in talks on an agreement to distribute the technology in Japan. The deal was announced late April 9.
The alternative energy sector has seen multiple deals this week. On April 8, EDF En Canada Inc. and Enbridge Inc. (TSX: ENB) (NYSE: ENB) agreed to buy the Blackspring Ridge Wind Project in Alberta, Canada, for $600 million.
Solar panel makers have struggled, some seeking bankruptcy protection, due to increased competition from China and other countries that have lower production costs.
In March, Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd.’s (NYSE: STP) China-based subsidiary was placed into bankruptcy by a Chinese court. The company, Wuxi Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd., manufactures photovoltaic cells and photovoltaic modules in China for solar panels.
In the U.S., Evergreen Solar, Solyndra LLC and SpectraWatt were among the solar panel companies that sought bankruptcy protection. All three companies liquidated.
German companies, including Q-Cells, Solon and Solar Millennium, also had to file for bankruptcy.