Demise of Hyundai’s solar operations greatly exaggerated

News reports originating in South Korea and covered by both European and US trade press point to claims that Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) is preparing to restructure its PV operations. HHI was reported to be halting PV power plant projects in the US and offering for sale a crystalline silicon production facility as it struggles to combat weak demand, reports claim. However, a letter sent to concerned customers, of which a copy is in PV-Tech’s possession, was written by senior executive vice president & COO, Dr. Choong-Dong Lee of Hyundai’s Green Energy Division, refuting media claims.

Dr. Lee stressed in the letter that the stories and subsequent coverage did not reflect its activities in the PV sector, as the senior executive highlighted that the energy sector had become a core business driver of HHI’s future.

“The large scale of order backlog for 2012 and next year altogether increasing in alignment with the orders we are receiving, could be a living proof of our business in sustainment,” wrote the executive in the customer letter. “In addition, our superior R&D workforce and long term technology oriented roadmap is guiding us through a successful solar business. For instance, Hyundai’s initiative to open the CIGS business is well on its smooth progress,” added Dr. Lee.

In reference to the CIGS thin-film plant, HHI is collaborating with Saint-Gobain to build and operate a US$200 million plant in Korea. The plant was expected to be completed in January 2012. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, considering the PV industry market dynamics over the last 12 months, rumours concerning a number of companies’ financial position or market presence have become a regular theme.

Similar reports emanating from South Korea have surfaced over Samsung’s commitment to the PV sector. Media reports claim that Samsung is planning to halt solar cell and module production completely, resorting to supplying customers outsourced modules branded Samsung from mid-year onwards.

Clarification of these claims is being sought directly from Samsung.

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