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Why Chinese Solar Market Exponential Growth in 2012 will help only Domestic Panel Producers

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China’s solar market growth has hit the rocket phase in late 2011 with the announcement of the long awaited national Feed in Tariff . Many of the Chinese utilities have set up large solar farms utilizing the cheap solar panels produced by Chinese solar panel companies. Note Chinese solar companies are the dominant players in the world having almost killed the western solar industry in the last couple of years. With cheap costs and massive government support, China is almost ruling the solar industry globally . In the domestic Chinese market they have even a bigger advantage given the local home conditions and preference of domestic companies . Note China become home to the biggest wind turbine companies when China enacted the domestic content requirements in 2006. With the solar industry , the Chinese government does not need this law as its companies already possess massive advantages over the foreign competition.

Note the only large project in Ordos which was awarded to US solar company First Solar is gathering dust in the last couple of years. This project was opposed by major local panel makers like Trina, Yingli and others. With First Solar the cheapest solar panel producer in the world itself unable to compete in China, there is absolutely no hope for the competition. With expectation that Chian will become the largest solar market in 2012 , foreign solar companies can draw no succour.

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

.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.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

Will China Dominate Global Wind like it is dominating Solar ; Europeans bleed while Chinese capture marketshare

In wind energy , China’s growth over the last 2-3 years has been awesome with more than 100% CAGR . It has helped in growing wind turbine manufacturers through domestic content requirements.Now that these companies have sufficient technology and are able to leverage their low cost advantages , China has removed the restrictions in Jan 2010 to attack other markets. Vestas the leading European turbine manufacturer like the solar makers has fallen into the red. The only way for these companies to survive is to move their manufacturing to Asia . Ultimately the technology will also follow ( Applied Materials has also move its R&D to Shanghai). Just like the semi and electronics industry,Europe will start looking like a marginal player in the global alternative energy industry. Despite strong domestic  demand and policy support , the European industry has been outsmarted and outplayed by  the Chinese.

China raises Solar Energy Capacity Target to 50 GW from 20 GW in 2020

China’s Solar Panel Manufactures have enjoyed a massive boom phase though domestic solar electric capacity has failed to keep up.China has been rewriting its renewable energy plan  in the wake of the Fukushima Nuclear Energy Disaster in Japan.Note there has been a strongglobal backlash against nuclear energy around the world and 7 nuclear plants in Germany have been closed all but in name.Other countries like South Korea,Italy,Switzerland are rethinking of what do about their nuclear reactors giving the massive tail risks with nuclear generation.China had a target of only  20 GW of solar by 2020 has decided to raise the target by  150% to 50 GW according to the country’s leading energy planning authority NDRC.Note China installed more than 15 GW of Wind Energy in 2010 alone becoming the world’s largest Wind Energy Market by far.Solar Energy strongly lags Wind in China despite China having the biggest solar panel manufacturing industry in the world.Its Golden Sun and other Solar Subsidy programs have been small in absolute terms compared to its huge electricity capacity.Note Wind Power in China has reached a saturation level with almost 18 GW installed in 2010 ,with such a high level further growth looks quite difficult.


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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