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This was a pretty big week for California in the solar space. First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR ) secured a pair of power purchase agreements (PPAs) with Southern California Edison, while NRG Energy landed a smaller contract with Pacific Gas & Electric.
On top of those 616 megawatts of PPAs, the Golden State also saw two large solar thermal projects, one owned by NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE ) and the other by Solar Millennium, move closer to construction. The clock is ticking on a 30% federal cash grant that expires at the end of the year, so developers have to be happy that the Bureau of Land Management and other permitting bodies are picking up the pace.
Last year, LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK ) found itself in a legal tussle with Q-Cells over a 10-year wafer supply contract. The company found itself back in the courtroom this week, squaring off against Canadian Solar (Nasdaq: CSIQ ) over ... a 10-year wafer supply contract. LDK says that CSI "failed to perform its purchase obligations and ceased making payments."
This is probably the last thing CSI needs right now, as the firm recovers from an SEC-launched accounting investigation and struggles to keep up with more integrated competitors. The firm just reported its second-quarter results, and gross margins of 13.6% came in far short of those seen over at Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE ) and Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL ) .
Speaking of vertical integration, LDK announced that it has its first solar cell line up and running, and is targeting 120 megawatts of annualized capacity by the end of the quarter.
On the technology front, MiaSole announced a record 14.3% conversion efficiency with a large-area CIGS (copper indium gallium (di)selenide) module, as verified by the National Renewable Energy Lab. The company expects to ship modules with over 13% efficiency beginning next year. Elsewhere in CIGS land, Global Solar unveiled the PowerFLEX BIPV, a module designed for building-integrated applications. That offering will directly compete with the thin-film laminates offered by Energy Conversion Devices (Nasdaq: ENER ) , a company that caught a brief reprieve this week on the back of some less-bad earnings results. One sharp-eyed reader spotted the adverse opinion issued by ECD's auditor relating to internal controls in the recently filed annual report, suggesting that this firm's difficulties may extend beyond competitive threats.