This Week in Solar

Now that we're through earnings season, it's back to business as usual for the solar industry.

This week there were some small but still notable power-plant deals announced. SunPower (NAS: SPWR) was selected to provide modules for a 3.8 MW solar power plant in France. The plant will use 12,000 of SunPower's E19 / 320 panels for the project.

Canadian Solar (NAS: CSIQ) has supplied 8.5 MW of modules in Germany that will be completed next month. The company has also supplied 12,465 of 40,000 modules in a 10 MW plant in Italy. And in Spain it is providing modules for a 9 MW project that will be commissioned in the fourth quarter.

Managing debt
Recently I've been very critical of Chinese solar manufacturers who lean on short-term loans from government banks for financing. But one of the most egregious users of this financing, LDK Solar (NYS: LDK) , announced this week that it planned to issue about $473 million in bonds over the next four quarters to pay down short-term debt.

This doesn't take LDK off my list of impending failures, but it's a good step nonetheless.

Mergers and acquisitions
The beginning of an inevitable M&A binge hasn't truly started yet, but JA Solar (NAS: JASO) bought another China-based maker of mono-crystalline solar wafers this week. Solar Silicon Valley Electronic Science and Technology was the target, and despite what the name says it will expand the company's footprint in China, not the United States.

Solar dumping decision today
Remember that complaint by a Coalition of American Solar Manufacturers led by SolarWorld that accused Chinese manufacturers of dumping solar products? Well, they were meeting with the ITC today, and initial word is that in a 6-0 vote, the group said there is reasonable indication of injury or the threat of injury.

This is a big decision for many reasons, because it affects everyone in the solar industry, sometimes in different ways. First Solar (NAS: FSLR) and SunPower may get a minor boost from a decision against China, and Chinese manufacturers would obviously be hurt slightly. But companies such as GT Advanced Technologies (NAS: GTAT) that export to China shouldn't be big fans of the complaint, because China could retaliate with tariffs of its own.

The whole thing is a mess right now, with conflicted interests everywhere. I just hope we don't hurt the whole for the benefit of a few.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorTravis Hoiumowns shares of First Solar and SunPower. You can follow Travis on Twitter at@FlushDrawFool, check out hispersonal stock holdings, or follow his CAPS picks atTMFFlushDraw. The Motley Fool owns shares of First Solar.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of First Solar. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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