Business / Markets

Solar Power eyes US IPO to crowdfund green projects

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-11-06 09:37

Solar Power Inc, a Shanghai-based operator of solar projects and a solar investment intermediary, plans to raise as much as $300 million in an initial public offering on Nasdaq of the United States as it expands an Internet platform to help crowdfund clean-power projects.

The company wants to have a presence in capital markets, Chief Executive Officer Roger Ye said in an interview, without disclosing the timing of a possible IPO.

The plan suggests an opposite approach to that taken by some Chinese companies considering moving their listings back to China from the US, or seeking listings at home first to take advantage of higher valuations. An all-time high of 34 Chinese companies trading on American exchanges have received privatization offers this year.

The US capital markets offer the most stability, Ye said, adding that a listing on Nasdaq is necessary from a long-term perspective.

The move underscores SPI's ambitions outside China, said Nick Duan, a Beijing-based analyst from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

"The US listing will help the company better expand business abroad," Duan said.

SPI, backed by Giant Interactive Group Inc and Evergrande Real Estate Group, started an investment intermediary called in January. Similar to crowdfunding websites including GoFundMe, Kickstarter and Indiegogo, aggregates financing from anybody who wishes to make a contribution.

In Solarbao's case, contribution levels start as low as 1,000 yuan ($158). That entitles the investor to a single solar panel, which is then leased to developers. The investment's return and period is set by Solarbao and the developer of the project.

Solarbao has helped raise more than 1 billion yuan for 130 megawatts of solar power projects that are under construction or connected to grids since January, said Ye.

The platform's growth comes as some Chinese solar developers run into difficulty borrowing from banks for small deals, while individuals are interested in broadening the source of wealth management due to limited opportunities in China. Solarbao brings more choices for individuals, said Ye.

Solarbao has rolled out similar campaigns to fund charging poles for electric vehicles and plans new rounds for wind farms to ease financing for small and medium-sized developers, according to Ye. He said diversification is intended to meet customer demands.

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