ReneSola is a Chinese manufacturer of monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon ingots and silicon wafers. It sells the silicon wafers to solar panel manufacturers that process the wafers into solar cells and assemble them into modules.
Demand for ReneSola's silicon wafers, which are specific to the solar industry, follows demand for solar panels. High oil and gas prices, fears of climate change, and political support for alternative energy sources are all playing a part in helping the emerging solar market develop.
ReneSola's main competitors in the silicon wafer market are LDK Solar, and solar wafer manufacturing divisions of large conglomerates engaging in solar wafer manufacturing such as Deutsche Solar AG, a divisoin of SolarWorld AG, Kyocera (KYO) and M. SETEK Co.
ReneSola is a Chinese manufacturer of monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon ingots and solar wafers that entered into the solar wafer market in 2005 and had its first public offering in January of 2008. It began by producing only monocrystalline wafers, and expanded into the polycrystalline market in the third quarter of 2007.  The company sells its products to PV solar panel manufacturers, including JA Solar Holdings, Motech Industries, Solarfun and Suntech Power.  The company also offers ingot and wafer processing services to certain customers.
In 2009, SOL incurred a net loss of $71.9 million in net income on $510.4 million in total revenues. This represents a 14.1% increase in net loss and a 23.9% drop in total revenues from 2008, when the company lost $54.9 million on $670.4 million in total revenue.
SOL operates through to reportable segments.
As a source of renewable energy, solar has a wide appeal as it is a virtually limitless resource, and once installed, can produce electricity without emitting harmful pollution. In developed countries that heavily use air conditioners the times of peak electricity usage are during the hottest, sunniest days of the year; the same days when solar panels can produce the most energy. Solar comes with limitations, however, most notably the poor efficiency of PV modules, which is further reduced by the need to convert DC from solar cells into AC current. Moreover, solar is weather dependent and intermittent, requiring storage or back-up systems to supplement during times of weak generation.
Silicon, a necessary input to most solar panels, is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, but refined silicon has been in short supply. The bottleneck has resulted in rising prices. As solar power has increased in popularity, silicon producers, who previously catered only to the semiconductor market, experienced a surge in demand. Due to limited mining capacity and processing capital they were unable to keep up with the increased demand. This created a "shortage" of refined polysilicon, and caused prices to soar.
For silicon wafer vendors like ReneSola, higher silicon prices mean higher production costs and lower margins. Higher silicon costs ultimately decrease demand for silicon as the cost is passed on to consumers through ReneSola’s customers and into the solar PV market. In the silicon PV industry, the cost of the silicon accounts for approximately 45% of each module’s manufacturing cost. This means that when silicon prices rise silicon PV manufacturers are forced to either absorb the extra cost, or pass it on to consumers.
The demand for solar wafers is dependent upon the demand of the end product that is sold to consumers, solar panels. Any increase in the demand for solar panels, correlates to an increase in the demand for silicon wafers, as approximately 90% of the solar market is silicon based panels. The expanding US solar market represents a significant opportunity for ReneSola.
Many states have their own monetary incentives for private and commercial installations. One New York program offers as much as $1.5 million for the creation of a manufacturing facility and the production and sale of clean energy products. These and other subsidies will need to remain intact until solar power becomes competitive with incumbent energy generation if solar is to become an important part of our power supply. States have also pressured utilities to invest in renewable energy sources by setting mandates that require a minimum percentage of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources. One example is California, which has said that 25% of its electricity will come from clean sources by 2020 and 75% by 2050. These mandates benefit renewable energy companies as they force utilities to expand their generation portfolios, regardless of subsidies, or purchase Renewable Energy Credits(RECs) from others that produce electricity from renewable sources.
ReneSola entered the monocrystalline solar wafer market in 2005 and the polycrystalline market in 2007.