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First Solar’s Showpiece 2000 MW Solar Plant in Inner Mongolia gets Stalled by Chinese Protectionism

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First Solar’s plan to build a Giant 2  GW solar power plant in the city of Ordos,Inner Mongolia in China was supposed to be the Showpiece of a new Sino-US partnership in Clean Technology.The company had singed a framework agreement with the Chinese government in late 2009 to start building this Humongous Power Plant in June 2010.This was hyped by the Chinese and USA media as the dawn of a new cooperation with the world’s two biggest economies in the Green Energy area.However,its already August 2010 and there is no sign of any activity.Washington Post has reported that the Inner Mongolian Government has having second thoughts about the building of the plant.Note China is already being acknowledged as the CleanTech Leader by US companies with even world class companies like Honda scouting China for Battery Technology.

First Solar signs massive deal with China – CNet

First Solar has signed a memorandum of understanding with China to partner on a 2,000-megawatt power plant in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia.Construction on the first phase of the First Solar project in China, a 30-megawatt plant, is set to begin in June 2010. The second phase–at 100 megawatts–and third phase–at 870 megawatts–are scheduled to be completed in 2014. The final fourth phase, a 1,000-megawatt installation, is slated for completion by 2019.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with one of the solar industry’s global technology leaders in a project of such significance to Ordos’s low carbon future. Discussions with First Solar about building a factory in China demonstrates to investors in China that they can confidently invest in the most advanced technologies available,” Cao Zhichen, vice mayor of Ordos City, said in a statement Tuesday

China Pushing its own domestic companies over Foreign Ones resulting in Global Backlash

China has come under a lot of criticism recently from conglomerates like GE and Siemens over discrimination being practised against non-Chinese companies.Massive implicit and explicit subsidies are bolstering Chinese companies against the Western ones as the government pushes the creation of National Champions in Green Technology.Through clever use of regulations  and subsidies,Chinese companies are even challenging Western and Japanese companies in their own turf.This has resulted in a backlash against China based companies.Huawei is the most famous example of this backlash being repeatedly denied rejected  in its tatkeover attempts of Western Technology Assets.

China’s Domestic Solar Companies Successfully Lobby Against First Solar – Ordos Deal

China’s low cost solar panel producers like Yingli,Trina and Suntech have captured a huge amount of global marketshare from the US and European companies.Some of these companies have lobbied the Ordos government to put the huge project on tender rather than just awarding it to First Solar.Note First Solar has not managed to get a FIT deal from the Chinese despite numerous attempts.China’s Solar Projects generally see Cutthroat Competition with negative investor returns.Don’t think First Solar would be too interested in bidding for such negative returns especially it does not have a big Sugar Daddy to cover its losses like LDK.Note China  has also granted a huge project to Solar Thermal company eSolar.This project also becomes doubtful in the face of the First Solar project stall.

Solar plan in China’s Inner Mongolia highlights pitfalls for U.S. firms – Washington Post

With great fanfare, an Arizona-based energy company signed a preliminary agreement with China last fall to build the world’s largest solar-power plant in the Mongolian desert.The deal was hailed as the first major example of the United States and China cooperating on a big-ticket energy project, and the largest foray by a U.S. company into Asia’s fast-growing alternative- energy market. The agreement became a centerpiece achievement of President Obama’s visit to China last November.

Nearly a year later, the deal has not been completed and there is growing skepticism as to whether it will happen.Chinese competitors in the solar business have complained openly about the U.S. company, First Solar, getting such a lucrative contract. A planned June 1 date to break ground has been missed. Government officials from the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia, where the plant would be built, say they plan to open the project to competitive bidding.

Many solar-industry insiders now say the deal, outlined in a “memorandum of understanding,” was mainly a showpiece for Chinese officials to demonstrate support for one of Obama’s signature initiatives, strategic energy cooperation.

An official in Ordos confirmed that the process to build the plant is now wide-open. Gao Gengui, energy section chief for the Ordos government’s development commission, said the government is treating First Solar the same as competing Chinese solar companies, and he said First Solar should “go through the bidding process.”

First Solar said in an e-mailed statement that “we are still negotiating the economic framework conditions for the project with our local partners. We are also currently experiencing very strong demand for our modules in other markets.”In light of these factors, we likely won’t start construction of the Ordos project until 2011,” the statement said.

China taps eSolar for massive power project – CNet

U.S. solar thermal power company eSolar, whose investors include Google, said it has reached a deal with a Chinese power equipment maker to build a 2,000-megawatt solar thermal power project in China over the next 10 years.n a statement, eSolar said equipment maker China Shandong Penglai Electric Power Equipment Manufacturing was developing solar thermal plants using eSolar’s technology.

The Pasadena, California-based company has deals with U.S. utilities, including NRG Energy to create more than 400MW at solar thermal power plants in the U.S. Southwest. It recently opened its first commercial power plant in Lancaster, California.eSolar’s investors include technology incubator Idealab and Oak Investment Partners


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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