New Hampshire, USA -- While some members of America's Congress call for the resignation of U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu over the failed loan to Solyndra, the embattled head of the nation's loan program pointed directly at the level of subsidies provided to Chinese solar panel manufacturers as the reason America needs to support a clean energy race.
But recent reports show it may not be that simple, and that the issue goes far deeper than the solar industry. Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported this week that “Chinese wind- and solar-energy companies have left untapped most of the $47 billion in credit lines made available by the government since 2010, undermining arguments that U.S. rivals are facing unfair competition funded by cheap loans.”
And it came on a weekend in which a strained relationship between officials in Beijing and Washington became increasingly apparent. On a week in which President Obama toured Asia, many of China’s news organizations are calling out America’s policies ranging from military strategy to economic pressures as a move to contain China’s rapid development.
Europe Looks to File Trade Complaint: SolarWorld AG is busy trying to get signatures from companies that make up at least 50 percent of manufacturing capacity in the European solar industry before bringing a formal complaint against Chinese producers to the European Union Commission, company spokesman Milan Nitzschke said
Location, Location, Location: A look at the factors at play when a company decides to set up solar manufacturing operations in Asia, which has moved quickly into a role of doiminance.
Maybank Investment: Maybank will start a $500 million private equity renewables fund with a focus on wind, solar, geothermal, small hydroelectric, biomass, biofuels and energy efficiency projects in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
Mongolia Moves Toward Wind: American wind giant GE has announced that it will provide 31 wind turbines for a 100 MW wind farm 40 miles from the capital of Mongolia.
Moving Offshore: China continues its aggressive push toward offshore wind as turbine maker Ming Yang announced it will provide turbines for a 200 MW project in the southern coastal area.
Panasonic in Malaysia: The company will build a solar plant starting next April to push the company's solar output capacity by 50 percent to about 900 MW.
At Home With Solar: In the months following Japan’s nuclear disaster, applications to receive subsidies for home solar installments grew 51 percent nationwide over the same period last year, and according to one company, inquires in one region jumped 10-fold immediately following planned blackouts.
India Solar Gets Another Boost: SunEdison has raised $110 million to fund 50 MW worth of solar projects in India, the biggest of which is a 25-MW project in Gujarat.
Wind Gaining Momentum: India’s utility giant has a deal with Suzlon to provide 11 wind turbines with a capacity of 23 MW. It is the fourth deal between the turbine maker and Gail (India).
According to Photon, Chinese PV module manufacturer Sun Earth Solar Power Co., Ltd. has received approval to begin construction of a new crystalline silicon module production plant in Ningbo, China. The facility will include six independent production lines with a combined production capacity of 1.2 GW, bringing the company’s total production capacity to 2 GW. The company expects the plant to begin producing modules in 2012. German distributor SiG Solar GmbH says that it will work with Sun Earth Solar to double the module producer’s market share in Europe as early as 2012
Also, Chinese photovoltaic producer JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. has commissioned San Francisco-based URS Corporation to perform a company-wide environmental audit. Jinko marketing director Arturo Herrero said that Jinko is due to sign an agreement with French company Bureau Veritas, which provides conformity assessment and consulting services. Jinko did not clarify if it would publish the audit results. In late August 2011, Jinko temporarily suspended production at its solar cell factory in Haining, China, after dead fish were found in a canal near the plant.
Part 1: “Solar Fred” sits down with Shawn Qu, Canadian Solar’s CEO, to talk about solar PV commoditization and solar industry leadership.
Part 2: The second half of the conversation includes a discussion about competition from China.
BY THE NUMBERS
Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast
$395 billion: Annual global investment in renewable power generation by 2020, a figure double the current amount that would be led by solar and offshore wind projects.
15.7 percent: Clean energy as a portion of total world generation capacity by 2030, up from 12.6 percent last year.
$50 billion: Annual clean energy project investment in China by 2014, pushing the nation past current leader Europe.
10 percent to 18 percent: The most rapid spending growth will come in India, the Middle East and Africa.
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Nov. 7-14, 2011 Asia Report: Fearing ‘Protectionism,’ China May Expand Domestic Market
Nov. 1-7, 2011 Asia Report: China Developer Puts U.S. Plans on Hold
Oct. 24-31, 2011 Asia Report: Energy Solutions from Hong Kong
Oct. 17-24, 2011 Asia Report: China Responds to Solar Complaint
Oct. 10-17, 2011 Asia Report: Intensity Increases Over China Pricing
Oct. 3-10, 2011 Asia Report: In Japan, the Search for Energy Solutions
September 26-Oct 3, 2011 Asia Report: Race for Innovation, Dominance and Capital
September 19-26, 2011 Asia Report: Subtle Signs of Energy Shift