LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Britain's PV Crystalox Solar , a wafer maker for solar syst
ems, painted a rosy outlook for the rest of 2008, as it said firm demand and strong prices had nearly tripled half-year income from a year ago.
PV Crystalox net income for the first six months jumped to 36.9 million euros ($54.48 million) from 13.6 million, and it declared an interim dividend of 2 euro cents per share, after nothing a year ago.
Shares in the Oxfordshire-based company, which makes wafers from high grade silicon for sale to manufacturers of solar cells and panels, were up 4 percent at 178 pence at 0702 GMT, adding to a 68 percent gain this year.
Solar power still makes up a tiny fraction of the world's energy consumption, but demand for the panels that turn sunlight into electricity is booming due to concerns over climate change and rising prices for fossil fuels.
'Wafer sales volumes and pricing for the second half of 2008 are expected to be broadly similar to the first half,' the company said in a statement.
'Total output for the year is expected to be in the range of 220-225 MW. Accordingly, we are confident about the outlook for the full year 2008.'
Wafer shipment volume had risen by a quarter to 110 MW in the period from a year earlier, it said.
'The market drivers for the photovoltaic (PV) industry remain positive, and although there is diversity in the various forecasts for growth of PV installations, even the relatively conservative view of the European Photovoltaic Industries Association envisages doubling of the market by 2010.
'Europe and the USA are expected to be the major markets,' the company added.
(Reporting by Hsu Chuang Khoo, editing by Will Waterman) ($1=.6773 Euro) Keywords: PVCRYSTALOX/
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