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Chinas Solar Industry Maintains Positive Growth Momentum

The technology group, The Linde Group, and its subsidiary, Linde LienHwa (LLH), jointly announce today several long-term gas supply contracts with leading Chinese solar manufacturers. The multi-million US dollar contracts will see Linde supplying to the full solar manufacturing value chain in China, from polysilicon to major solar module manufacturers, including GS Solar, Parity Solar, CNPV Solar Power SA, General Solar Power and Argus Power.

Linde’s Greater China Regional Business Unit will construct and manage two steam methane reformers (SMRs) in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, for the supply of high purity hydrogen (H2) products for the rapid capacity expansion of polysilicon manufacturing. Linde’s SMR process is capable of producing large volumes of high purity H2 products, bringing energy-efficient benefits to polysilicon manufacturers.

Linde’s electronics-focused subsidiary LLH’s new long-term gas supply contracts, going on-stream this year in China, will provide delivery of bulk and specialty gases essential for solar cells manufacturing. LLH’s total gases supply to these new and expanding customers will significantly cover more than 1GW of capacity, with a further 300MW of possible expansions.

“Linde’s long-term supply contracts with industry leaders in China demonstrate customer confidence in Linde’s innovative gas technologies to enable optimal cost-performance ratio right across the solar value chain from polysilicon to solar module manufacturing,” says Steven Fang, Head of Linde Greater China, “Linde’s contract wins create new opportunities of partnership for us in the solar industry, and to be part of China’s aspiration to develop its industries through sustainable technologies.”

LLH is at the forefront of greener solutions for the solar market. Andy Cook, President of LLH China, adds, “As China joins the race to become a dominant player in the solar power market, module makers are demanding innovative technologies to address the cost, efficiency and sustainable manufacturing of photovoltaic cells. In line with its strong focus on innovation and sustainability Linde LienHwa will also promote its onsite fluorine generators, as PV module manufacturers actively seek greener alternatives to nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).

China is effecting a rapid change in the business order of the global photovoltaic (PV) industry, carving out a significant global market share for itself, with government incentives stimulating local production and solar module manufacturers looking for increasingly cost effective and innovative ways to drive down cell costs.

Paula Mints, Director, Energy Practice and principal analyst – PV Services Programme, Navigant Consulting, said: “2009 was a better year for sales than anyone in the PV industry expected, with shipment growth of 32 percent to the first point of sale in the market. The most significant volume of PV production is coming from China and Taiwan – with significantly lower price points than the rest of the world. In 2009, shipments from China/Taiwan grew by 73 percent over 2008.”

In 2009, China unveiled its Golden Sun programme to subsidise PV projects totalling 642MW at a total estimated cost of RMB 20 billion (USD 2.9 billion). In November last year, ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit, China announced that it would cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of the GDP by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 in comparison to 2005 levels.

Linde has a leading position in gases and chemical supply to both crystalline and thin-film silicon PV module manufacturers, in key markets including Germany, Spain, Italy, China, Taiwan and India. To date, Linde has partnered with customers on projects with a production capacity of more than 6GWp.

About The Linde Group
The Linde Gases Division, part of the Linde Group, is a leader in the international industrial and healthcare gases markets, providing compressed, bulk, specialty and medical gases, as well as chemicals to virtually all fields of industry globally. The company adds value to its customers’ businesses through the provision of state-of-the-art application technology, process know-how, services and equipment.

The Linde Group is a world leading gases and engineering company with almost 48,000 employees working in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2009 financial year it achieved sales of EUR 11.2 billion (USD 15.3 billion). The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards sustainable earnings-based growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services.

Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. Linde is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.

In Greater China, Linde is headquartered in Shanghai and has around 50 wholly-owned companies and joint-ventures, and more than 150 operational plants in major industrial hubs across the country, with around 2,600 employees.

For more information, see The Linde Group online at http://www.linde.com