BYD to build 5,000-MW solar cell production line in Shaanxi (China)

BYD Co. Ltd. (SEHK: 1211), an indigenous manufacturer of lithium ion batteries rechargeable and electric vehicles in China, will spend CNY 22.5 billion building a 5,000MW solar cell production base in the northwestern province of Shaanxi from 2009 to 2015, citing the local government’s latest circular economy development strategy.

But the BYD Public Relationship Manager Xu An told journalists that he did not know about this document personally. Obviously, the Hong Kong-listed is unwilling to reveal such a huge investment prematurely. China is featured with a total solar cell production capacity of only 5,000MW to 6,000MW now, representing the world’s 40%.

Last year, the company started creating the first phase of its solar cell project in Shangluo City, south Shaanxi, and the annual production capacity and total investment were estimated at 100MW and CNY 500 million, respectively.

Mr. Xu said on November 19, 2009 that BYD would commit itself to setting foot in the new energy field, besides its existing IT and automobile businesses. Upon the development strategy, its new energy operation is mainly composed of three aspects: solar power station; energy storage station; and new electric cars.

Chinese electric car and battery maker BYD Co Ltd hopes to be a top supplier in incentive programs to boost the use of electric cars in Chinese cities, according to a senior executive.

"The Chinese government supports ten cities to each have 1,000 electric vehicles for public transporta-tion," said Henry Li, general manager of BYD Auto’s export trade division. “With this we already have a quite high demand for electric vehicles", he said, adding BYD hoped to supply a big number of e-cars for this program in the coming years. "But there is a lot of competition, so it is hard to say, how many (contracts) we can actually get."

Li said demand for electric cars would first come from governments, taxi businesses and corporate fleets in all markets. "The trend is to go electric, but how much and how long the government will support (the electric car segment) is very difficult to say," he said.

BYD will launch its e6 electric vehicle by the end of 2010 in U.S.