China surging ahead with solar energy

China provides one of the bright spots in the world economy, especially sectors that depend on government stimulus and credit, since there is, well, quite a lot of those going around these days. Alternative energy should rock, as it is dependent on both. Those 2011 options in LDK we suggested are looking very good indeed, considering what follows…

China Becomes Global Green Leader with Massive Solar Projects

Kelvin Schulle.

During the last six months, the Chinese government has planned massive solar projects ahead of the Obama administration in the U.S. Wall Street can hardly obtain first hand information because of the communication obstacle between the east and the west as language is a major cause of the delay. Many westerners rely on the translation from media such as Tawain’s DiGitimes, and JML Pacific Epoch, a research firm located in China that publishes in English.

Back in Jan 2009, the Qinghai province Haixi region rolled out the world’s first 1GW solar farm project. Suntech power (STP) has been reportedly selected for the first 400MW, ReneSola (SOL) and JA Solar (JASO) are likely to win 200MW each, to reach 80% of its 1GW target (note: none of the companies have officially released any contracts yet). Many other Chinese solar companies are also competing for the rest of the 200MW – companies such as Solarfun Power Holding (SOLF), Yingli Green (YGE), Trina Solar (TSL).

Moreover, Qinghai is just one of the provinces that the central government fully supports for the nation’s ambitions. Before Qinghai’s 1GW solar farm, Yunnan province rolled out its first on-grid 166MW solar farm. According to the Guardian’s report, both the Gangsu province and Inner Mongolia province are planning for 2GW or bigger solar farms in their regions. The other 10 provinces have also submitted solar energy projects to the central government for approval. China’s target for renewable energy is to achieve 15% of total energy consumption for the nation – that will translate to roughly 30-40GW by 2020. But we should not ignore the contribution from other forms of renewable energy such as wind, geothermal, biomass, etc.

It is worth noting that , with huge solar projects on the way in China, there are only two major solar wafer providers, LDK solar (LDK) and ReneSola (SOL). ReneSola is also a vertical integration company, providing PV models.

Now let’s take a look at the big solar projects in U.S. The largest one so far is the 800MW in California, to be built by Optisolar. Sunpower is going to provide 250MW PV panels to the project. We also have some small scale solar farms on schedule, such as the 75MW solar project in Charlotte County, Florida. First Solar (FSLR) is also planning a 48MW Nevada solar farm that will start generating electricity this year.

Over all, President Obama’s renewable energy plan is left behind, and our competitor China is moving forward with full speed.

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