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Suntech Announces Major Initiatives to Significantly Expand Share of the U.S. Solar Market and Capture Greater Portion of Revenue in PV Value Chain

Posted on 2008-10-02
Company plans to triple sales to the U.S. in 2009 through expansion of dealer network, acquisition of commercial-scale solar integrator EI Solutions, and joint venture with MMA Renewable Ventures to develop, finance, own and operate large solar projects

SAN FRANCISCO and WUXI, China, Oct. 2 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), the world's largest photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, today announced three initiatives designed to significantly expand its share of the U.S. solar market. The initiatives include:

    -- Establishment of a joint venture with MMA Renewable Ventures, forming
       Gemini Solar Development Company LLC. Gemini Solar will seek to develop,
       finance, own and operate large-scale PV projects greater than 10
       megawatts.  Projects built by the joint venture will be co-owned and
       operated by funds to be formed by Suntech and MMA Renewable Ventures
       that will also seek to attract third party investors.
    -- Acquisition of EI Solutions, a leading California-based commercial
       solar system integration company. EI Solutions has designed and
       implemented solar projects for many leading U.S. companies including
       Google, Disney, Sony Pictures, the North Face, and Puget Sound Energy.
       The acquisition will enable Suntech to provide complete solar solutions
       to commercial, utility and government customers in the U.S.  The new
       subsidiary will be named Suntech Energy Solutions and will be headed by
       Andrew Beebe, EI Solutions' current president.
    -- Rapid expansion of Suntech's U.S. dealer network to increase
       penetration into the residential roof-top and small commercial system
       solar market and build brand recognition with downstream solar
       integrators.

Combined, these initiatives will enable Suntech to serve more completely the full breadth of U.S. customers, from residential and commercial building owners to utilities and government. In addition, as Suntech continues to invest in cost reduction technologies, the company is also increasing its efforts to seek out those balance-of-system components that best meet customer demand for a truly integrated offering. This vertical integration will enable Suntech to optimize solar system composition and performance, and drive down costs throughout the solar value chain. As a result of these initiatives, Suntech plans to triple sales to the U.S. in 2009.

"These initiatives mark a new era of growth for Suntech in the U.S.," said Roger Efird, president of Suntech America. "With the acquisition of EI Solutions and our joint venture with MMA Renewable Ventures, we can now offer a fully integrated solar solution to commercial, utility and government customers. This will provide us with a much closer relationship with these customers and enable us to capture a significant portion of the rapidly growing market for larger systems, particularly in the utility sector. At the same time, our rapidly expanding dealer network will allow us to significantly increase our penetration in the residential and small commercial market."

"We see the U.S. market as on the cusp of enormous growth," added Steven Chan, chief strategy officer of Suntech. "An increasing number of states have adopted initiatives to promote the expansion of solar and other renewable energy technologies, and there is broad public support across the political spectrum for a new direction in national energy policy that will drive demand for clean technologies. We are poised to meet that demand with the team we have acquired with EI Solutions, which is among the most experienced and highly regarded in the industry, and our strategic alliance with MMA Renewable Ventures, which has an impressive track record of developing America's largest PV plants."

About MMA Renewable Ventures

A subsidiary of Municipal Mortgage & Equity, LLC "MuniMae," (OTC: MMAB.PK), MMA Renewable Ventures finances, owns and operates renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in the United States. The Company provides leases, Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and other customized financial solutions to help its customers manage energy costs. MMA Renewable Ventures is dedicated to delivering competitively priced, clean energy and energy savings to customers, strong partnership options for project developers, and exceptional opportunities for institutional investment in the clean energy sector. For more information about MMA Renewable Ventures, visit http://www.mmarenewableventures.com .

About EI Solutions

EI Solutions is one of California's fastest-growing providers of commercial and utility-scale solar power systems. EI Solutions has completed projects for a wide variety of public agencies and private companies including Sony, BT and one of the largest solar installations on a US corporate campus, a 1.9 megawatt system on Google's Mountain View headquarters. EI Solutions' headquarters are in San Rafael, California, where all engineering, project management, finance and administrative functions are based. EI Solutions was a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Innovations, Inc., an Idealab company. Broadpoint Capital advised Energy Innovations on the transaction.

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