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Chinese Buyer Says Solar Firm MiaSole Will Expand

MiaSole's backers invested more than $550 million in the company.

Producers of solar equipment were battered by a collapse in prices in 2009-10 after Chinese government grants and other support encouraged hundreds of small producers to flood into the market over the past decade.

China's biggest producers of silicon cells have reported hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. Smaller producers have closed and industry analysts expect more mergers and bankruptcies as Beijing tries to reduce overcapacity.

Communist leaders see solar power as a way to help curb surging demand for fossil fuels and create better-paid technology jobs.

The government plans to add 10 gigawatts of solar generating capacity this year, the director of the National Energy Administration, Liu Tienan, said at a conference this week, according to a text of his remarks released Wednesday.

The government said in October it wants to generate 30 percent of China's power from solar, wind and other renewable sources, as well as from nuclear energy, by the end of 2015. That was an increase over an earlier target of 15 percent from renewables plus 5 percent from nuclear by 2020.

Beijing's support for manufacturers of traditional silicon solar cells has prompted complaints by the United States and Europe that it is violating free-trade rules.

Li acknowledged his company is "going against the tide" of a market that favors silicon. But he said the renewable energy market should rebound late this year or in early 2014, boosting demand for thin film. He said the more advanced technology required to make it means small suppliers cannot rush in as they did with silicon, which was easier to make.

Hanergy began as a dam operator and says it now has 6 gigawatts of hydro generating capacity. It later added wind farms and launched a business in 2009 to build and operate solar power facilities.

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