Hoku makes major solar purchases
Hoku Scientific Inc., moving ahead with its startup solar division announced in May, said yesterday it signed contracts totaling $4.8 million for a production line for photovoltaic modules and for the solar cells to go into the modules.
The Kapolei-based company, founded as a developer of fuel-cell technology, reached a deal to purchase a photovoltaic module production line for Hoku's planned Idaho plant for about $2 million from Bedford, Mass.-based Spire Corp.
The production line, which will allow subsidiary Hoku Solar to manufacture up to 15 megawatts of photovoltaic modules each year, is scheduled to be delivered in the first half of next year. Hoku said it eventually intends to increase its module production capacity to 30 megawatts per year.
Hoku also signed a contract to buy solar cells manufactured in Taiwan from one or more unidentified suppliers for about $2.8 million. Hoku said the cells, which will be delivered later this year, will be used in Hoku's initial module product line next year.
The purchase was Hoku's first acquisition of solar cells, which are in high demand due to a shortage of polysilicon. Hoku said it is negotiating with various suppliers for solar cells.
The company also said it is in discussions with manufacturers of solar cells for future supply of polysilicon to be produced by its Hoku Materials division. Polysilicon is the primary raw material used to make photovoltaic cells for solar modules.