* Plans expansion in U.S., China, emerging markets
* Company says prospects in 2013 looking good
* Sector consolidation to continue in 2012
* Sees Japan, India, Middle East as growth drivers
By Leonora Walet
HONG KONG, May 28 (Reuters) - GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd , China’s largest polysilicon and wafer maker, said on Monday it plans to expand its solar farm business in China, the United States and in emerging markets.
Overcapacity and a collapse in prices are driving Chinese solar firms to venture into solar farm development to boost revenue and push inventory at a time when global peers are struggling under limited funding and news of bankruptcies at solar companies in the United States.
Chinese companies are also benefiting from cheap state loans that allow them to build capacity and lower costs, helping them earn market share globally.
GCL-Poly said it has more than 200 megawatts (MW) in projects ready for construction this year and 300MW more planned for the United States and Puerto Rico, although it did not provide a time frame for those.
In 2011, GCL-Poly’s solar farm projects in operation in the United States hit 16 megawatts, generating sales of HK$39.5 million ($5.09 million).
The company in 2010 acquired a 50 percent stake in U.S. solar firm SolarReserve’s 1,100MW photovoltaic U.S. development pipeline. Projects are being considered for California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado.
GCL-Poly’s parent, GCL Group, signed a 5 billion yuan ($788.16 million) credit facility with China Everbright Bank in Suzhou this past weekend and it has said its unit can use the funds for its projects.
GCL-Poly’s chairman and CEO, Zhu Gongshan, said he expects the industry to continue to consolidate in 2012 amid stiff competition and overcapacity, but said things will improve in 2013.
“Despite the European debt crisis that continues to grip the solar sector, prospects for the solar industry are looking good for 2013,” Zhu said, as markets expand in Japan, India and the Middle East with national solar plans being developed in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel.
Shares of GCL-Poly were little changed on Monday at HK$1.70, after slipping more than 50 percent in the last year.