Disappointing solar earnings across the board

Solar makers continue to struggle in 2011 with weak third quarter earnings, as the price of solar panels has dropped by 40 percent and important European markets have cut subsidies. Solar companies Suntech, JA Solar, LDK Solar and Canadian Solar all issued disappointing earnings.

China’s role in 2nd quarter greentech figures

The common thread in greentech is: China. The country, which has been the world’s key growth engine for clean energy and green technology over the past few years, has begun to see some weakness, and that’s causing ripple effects through the global green economy.

Q-Cells, LDK Team Up to Tackle Large-Scale Solar

It’s a rough world out there for solar, but it’s easier when you have friends. That’s why Germany’s Q-Cells and China’s LDK Solar (s LDK) are forming a joint venture to build solar power plants in Europe and China. The companies said today that they’ve already started work on their first project, a 40-megawatt photovoltaic plant in Europe.
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The partnership makes a lot of sense in a tight economy. The venture will use solar wafers from LDK and solar cells from Q-Cells, and the companies said it won’t require any additional working capital or other funding. Because this team-up encompasses the supply of both solar wafers and solar cells, it could give the pair a financial advantage in the large-scale solar market, and the companies said they can cut costs on the projects by taking advantage of their complementary business models and regional expertise.
The move follows a wave of consolidation in the solar industry, with other players in the industry also pairing up their solar supplies.
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SpectraWatt Suspends Factory Plans, Expects Production Delay

Intel (s INTC) solar spinoff SpectraWatt has put its plans to build a factory in Hillsboro, Ore., on hold after being unable to get enough financing, The Oregonian reported this week.

CEO Andrew Wilson told the newspaper that SpectraWatt is searching for an existing building that it could retrofit for less, and it is considering leaving the state. He also said the change of plans will delay SpectraWatt’s first solar-cell shipments by five or six months.

The company, which was raising a $50 million round of funding led by Intel in June, said then that it expected to ship its first solar cells from a 60-megawatt factory in the middle of this year. SpectraWatt didn’t respond to requests for more information Thursday afternoon.

The setback is the latest sign of tough times for solar companies. As a recession is making capital scarce, analysts are predicting an oversupply of solar panels that could lead to a pricing plunge. Jenny Chase, a senior associate for solar at New Energy Finance, expects some 4 gigawatts of panels to go begging this year.

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AT&T Buys Wayport to Keep iPhone Users Happy

Today AT&T said it would buy Wayport, an operator of Wi-Fi hotspots around the country, for $275 million in cash. The deal brings AT&T 80,000 Wi-Fi hotspots all over the country, which will help offload bandwidth-clogging traffic, driven by Wi-Fi enabled phones, from its 3G network.