By Sacramento Business Journal

LDK Solar Co. Ltd. has agreed to acquire a 70 percent interest in Solar Power Inc. for approximately $33 million, strengthening the Roseville companyâ¿¿s balance sheet and providing much-needed financing.

LDK Solar is a China-based manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, high purity polysilicon and photovoltaic products. Solar Power (OTCBB: SOPW) manufactures solar panels in China and installs solar-power systems in the United States.

⿿This investment in SPI clearly places our company among the most elite photovoltaic solar developers today,⿝ Steve Kircher, chairman and CEO of Solar Power, said in a news release. ⿿We are honored that LDK Solar has placed value in our legacy projects and in our pipeline.

The deal will speed up development of Solar Powerâ¿¿s project pipeline, which primarily consists of utility-scale power plants and commercial and industrial distributed generation systems, according to the companies. Projects that had been in the works include a 16-megawatt solar farm in north Sacramento County.

LDK Solar also will buy certain components of Solar Powerâ¿¿s manufacturing equipment and assume total manufacturing control of the companyâ¿¿s module manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, China. The move will allow Solar Power to develop and build large- and utility-scale solar projects in the U.S.

⿿One of the things that⿿s challenging to everybody today is financing. Liquidity is still an issue,⿝ Solar Power spokesman Mike Anderson said. ⿿This changes that for us. It makes it much easier to get projects financed.⿝

Solar Power will now be able to pursue a number of projects in its pipeline, ⿿including those on the local agenda,⿝ Anderson said.

Anderson added that while LDK Solar will take over the manufacturing operation, the company will continue to manufacture ⿿our SPI branded products,⿝ including Solar Power⿿s modules, which have been highly rated by the California Energy Commission for performance and efficiency.