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Chinese Solar Energy Industry Has An Optimistic Outlook -- As an inexhaustible and pollution-free resource, solar energy is becoming the first choice of energy for people. Especially when the traditional energy is becoming less and less, solar energy has become the green energy preferred in the world. According to statistics, when 1% of solar energy on the earth’s surface is transferred into electricity, the transfer rate is 5%. The annual electricity outputs are forty times the global energy consumptions.

At present, many countries are working hard to develop and use solar energy. Europe, Japan and America have planned to put the focus of energy supply security on solar energy and other renewable energy since 2030. It is estimated that the electricity generated by solar energy in 2030 will account for over 10% of the global energy supply and over 20% in 2050. The exploration and development of the solar energy industry will become the main stream of the future energy utilization.

China is rich in solar energy and the theory storage volumes are 1.7 trillion tons of standard coal annually. There are huge potentials on the development and exploration of solar energy. China is located in the Northern Hemisphere, and the distances between north and south, west and east are both over 5,000 km. There is rich solar energy in Chinese vast land. The average daily quantity of radiation yearly in most areas is over 4 kwh/sq and the maximum daily quantity of radiation in Tibet reaches 7 kwh/sq. The annual hours of sunshine are over 2,000. Compared with those countries in the same latitude, China is similar with America but much better than Europe and Japan.

In recent years, Chinese opto-electronics industry is developing rapidly. It has formed the scaled, international and professional industry chain and has many enterprises that can compete in the global market. The market scale of Chinese solar energy industry ranks first in the world. It has the largest outputs and usage volumes of solar water heaters in the world and it is an important producer of solar PV cells. By the end of 2006, the production capacity of Chinese solar water heaters reached 15 million square meters and the collector gross area reached 100 million square meters. The outputs and usage volumes ranked first in the world. China has over 1,000 solar water heater manufactures with the total annual production value of 12 billion RMB. It has formed an entire industrial system and there are over 200,000 employees. Besides, China has widely used solar houses, solar cookers, solar greenhouse sheds and other solar thermal application technologies. At present, there are over 20 PV cell and component producers with the annual production capacity of 1.5 million kilowatts. Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd (NYSE:STP) has ranked in the top 10 in the global PV industry and its aggregate production capacity of PV cells accounts for 60% of the national capacity. To break the restrictions of high purity silicon materials on Chinese solar PV electricity generation products, over 10 enterprises, including Sichuan Xinguang Silicon Co., Ltd, have invested on solar silicon material projects with the annual production capacity of over 50,000 tons. With the improvement of the production capacity and technology levels of Chinese silicon materials, China will form a complete PV manufacturing industry.

In the future, solar applications will be focused on solar thermal powers and solar PV energy. Solar thermal power applications include electricity generation, hot water, drying, air conditioners, and greenhouse and so on. Solar PV energy applications include energy generation, cells, and electric automobiles and so on. Solar water heater is the only commercialized solar technology applied product.

China has become the largest producer and usage country of solar water heaters in the world. The aggregate area has exceeded 90 million square meters and it remains increasing with a speed of 20% to 30% annually. The outputs of Chinese solar water heaters have accounted for over 76% of the global outputs. It is estimated that after Chinese government promotes the solar thermal application work, China will have over 1 trillion RMB of market demands only on solar water heaters in the next 10 years. There are huge potentials.

Solar PV electricity generation is a mature technology at present. It is safe and reliable and has no noises and pollutions. It can acquire energy anywhere and will not be restricted by regions. It doesn’t consume fuels and can be built in a short period. It doesn’t need power transmission lines and can combine with architectures easily. Common electricity generation and other patterns can’t catch up with it. Before 2002, the outputs of Chinese solar cells accounted for only 1% of the global outputs, but since 2004, stimulated by the international PV market, especially German and Japanese markets, Chinese PV industry began to develop rapidly. The outputs accounted for over 10% of the global outputs, ranking the third in the world. It is estimated that the outputs of Chinese PV electricity generation products will be over 1,000 megawatts in 2010.

As the most potential energy in the 21st century, the solar energy industry has huge developing potentials. As it is a new sunrise industry and has a good policy environment, the solar energy industry has high investment values and developing potentials. As present, the solar energy industry is developing rapidly and it has good investment opportunities. But the operation risks and competition risks should be controlled to achieve good investment returns.


Source: China Research and Intelligence

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Eileen Gu

China Research and Intelligence


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