First Solar reaches strategic partnership with Chinese solar developer CPINE

First Solar reaches strategic partnership with Chinese solar developer CPINEFirst Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) and China Power International New Energy Holding Ltd. (CPINE) signed a strategic partnership yesterday (May10) to collaborate on projects both in the U.S. and in China. The partnership comes as both companies are looking to expand their solar presence in both markets.

First Solar has a 2-gigawatt (2,000 megawatt) project in China and a 2.4-gigawatt project pipeline in the U.S. However, development on the project in China has been stymied. First Solar is still working on reaching agreements to start work on the first 30-megawatt phase of the project.

“First Solar signed an MOU [i.e., memorandum of understanding] in 2009 with Ordos City and will continue to work together with the Ordos government and our Genco partner China Guangdong Nuclear to reach agreement on a viable price and some project details before construction starts on the 30 megawatt AC first phase of the project,” said First Solar spokesperson Alan Bernheimer.

Under this agreement, the companies will seek to collaborate on solar photovoltaic projects in China and identify investment opportunities for CPINE in the U.S. and other international solar markets, according to a First Solar press release. The partnership will leverage CPINE's position as a renewable energy developer in China with 2 gigawatts of solar projects in China slated for completion by 2020.

“We are very pleased to build an extensive and in-depth relationship with First Solar. This cooperation leverages our advantages in the domestic solar power industry, and helps First Solar further expand its business presence in China,” CPINE Chairwoman Madame Li Xiaolin said in the press release. “We are happy to explore other cooperation opportunities in different areas and through different methods with First Solar, working together to further expand in the global market.”

The companies have not specified what other international solar markets they may pursue development in, according to Bernheimer.

The partnership will likely help First Solar’s efforts in the Chinese market.

“The agreement demonstrates First Solar’s long-term commitment to the China market,” Bernheimer said. “Through building strategic partnerships with Chinese companies and particularly Genco partners, First Solar hopes to bring the world’s most advanced, cleanest and most affordable solar technology to China and help China achieve its carbon emission reduction goals.”

Pictured: First Solar's 30-MW Cimarron plant in New Mexico.