Chinese solar equipment maker Suntech Power Holdings today reported a loss of $174.9 million despite a 95 percent increase in revenue to $625.1 million in the second quarter of 2010. Still, the company says demand for its products is way up, boding well for the future.

It attributed the loss it incurred to reorganization costs and write-downs. And, for the most part, the results exceeded analysts’ forecasts.

Suntech was hit hard by the economic downturn, but now sales are finally rebounding. Shipments of solar cells and modules for the quarter were three times higher than they were a year ago. The demand motivated the company to raise its expectations by 200 megawatts, to 1.5 gigawatts shipped for 2010. Meeting this demand is anticipated to cost $300 – $350 million.

Suntech is one of the Chinese solar companies predicted to give American companies in the industry — like First Solar and SunPower — a run for their money. While it has seen a major spike in demand in Europe, its business is also growing in the U.S. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company predicts its sales in the U.S. alone to triple over the next year.

Suntech says it already has plans to expand its shipments in North America via its network of equipment dealers. In China alone, the company has the potential to win contracts for up to 13 solar farms, as part of the country’s ambitious solar development roadmap.

In addition to being a major player in China’s solar ascent, Suntech exemplifies another big trend in the industry: the shift away from thin-film solar technology. Earlier this year, Applied Materials scrapped its thin-film solar equipment business and 500 jobs along with it. Suntech has also axed its thin-film manufacturing plans in order to pour all of its resources into silicon solar cells — accounting for a $55 million write-down.

Based in Jiangsu, Suntech previously raised $102 million from Jiangsu Shunda Semiconductor Development.