Schol­ars tell Trump to copy China so­lar en­ergy ap­proach

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - Chang Jun Con­tact the writer at junechang@chi­nadai­lyusa. com.

Along China’s path of trans­form­ing from the world’s lead­ing man­u­fac­turer to a pro­po­nent of so­lar tech­nol­ogy and prod­ucts, the United States might find it worth­while to di­gest and learn from China’s ap­proach to its vi­sion­ary en­ergy pol­icy, its pub­lic-pri­vate tech­nol­ogy part­ner­ship and com­mer­cial­iza­tion of its tech­nol­ogy and re­search.

In a re­port ti­tled The New So­lar Sys­tem, which was funded by the US De­part­ment of En­ergy and re­leased on March 21, schol­ars from Stan­ford Univer­sity urged the US govern­ment to cap­i­tal­ize on China’s ex­per­tise in forg­ing a “more eco­nom­i­cally sen­si­ble” path for Amer­ica’s so­lar in­dus­try, and ac­knowl­edge China’s achieve­ment in the sec­tor.

In 2016, China pro­duced 71 per­cent, (ver­sus Amer­ica’s 1.3 per­cent), of the world’s so­lar mo­d­ules, said the re­port. By the end of 2015, China had de­ployed 43,500 MW in so­lar power, mak­ing it the world’s largest in­stalled so­lar base.

Ac­cord­ing to An­ders Hove, as­so­ci­ate di­rec­tor of re­search at the Paul­son In­sti­tute, China had 34 gi­gawatts (GW) of new so­lar power in­stalled in 2016 alone, more than dou­ble what was added in the US.

Last De­cem­ber, China un­veiled a five-year plan for the de­vel­op­ment of so­lar en­ergy, which set a tar­get of 110 GW so­lar ca­pac­ity by 2020.

“Re­new­able en­ergy, in­clud­ing so­lar, is es­sen­tial for meet­ing China’s en­ergy and cli­mate goals and re­duc­ing re­liance on high-emis­sions coal, which con­trib­utes to both air pol­lu­tion and cli­mate change,” said Hove.

Yang Yun­hui, part­ner at Shang­hai-based Yi­jin Cap­tial, echoed the US re­searchers’ rec­om­men­da­tions. “The cen­tral govern­ment has taken con­crete ef­forts to push for­ward growth of China’s re­new­able, clean en­ergy,” she said.

Con­cerned cit­i­zens in China be­came early adopters of res­i­den­tial so­lar panel in­stal­la­tions. “They un­der­stand the need to get away from ter­ri­ble pol­lu­tion prob­lems and in­vest in clean en­ergy,” she said.

Chi­nese so­lar panel mak­ers aren’t stop­ping within na­tional bound­aries; in­stead, they are ex­pand­ing into over­seas mar­kets in­clud­ing the US. “They have the cap­i­tal, they have the tech­nol­ogy, they have the scale,” said Ocean Yuan, CEO of the Ore­gon-based so­lar panel man­u­fac­turer Grape So­lar.

He ac­com­pa­nied a group of four vis­i­tors yes­ter­day from Chengdu-based Tong­wei Group, the world’s lead­ing aquatic feed pro­ducer, on a tour of the Eu­gene tech­nol­ogy cen­ter, which boasts a man­u­fac­tur­ing base of ap­prox­i­mately 917,261 square feet. “They are in­ter­ested in pur­chas­ing the fac­to­ries for fu­ture so­lar panel pro­duc­tion,” he said.

In 2006, Tong­wei’s founder Liu Hanyuan de­cided to switch part of the com­pany’s busi­ness fo­cus to so­lar tech­nol­ogy and pur­chased a com­pany that made chem­i­cals for the pro­duc­tion of polysil­i­con, the crys­talline raw ma­te­rial used in mak­ing so­lar pan­els.

Last week, Yuan and his team flew into San Fran­cisco to at­tend In­terSo­lar North Amer­ica, a three-day so­lar in­dus­try trade show.

“Can’t you see that Chi­nese en­ter­prises make a strong pres­ence?” said Yuan, call­ing Huawei’s pre­sen­ta­tion “too eye­catch­ing to miss”.

Spear­head­ing the PV in­verter sec­tor in China in 2011, Huawei not only be­came the do­mes­tic mar­ket leader but clinched a 45 per­cent in­ter­na­tional mar­ket share in 2015.

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