Introduction of Chinese Solar Energy Market
- Description: China has over 400 photovoltaic (PV) companies and produces approximately 18% of the photovoltaic products worldwide.In 2007 China produced 1700 MW of solar panels, nearly half of the world production
China has over 400 photovoltaic (PV) companies and produces approximately 18% of the photovoltaic products worldwide.In 2007 China produced 1700 MW of solar panels, nearly half of the world production of 3800 MW, although 99% was exported. China has installed about 80 MW of photovoltaics. Solar water heating is used extensively, though.
The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning agency, has said China plans to generate at least 150 mW of power from solar thermal power stations by 2015.
China is expected to emerge as one of the greatest solar energy production bases in the world after 2008. Certain fundamental conditions are already in place in China for the large scale development and exploitation of solar energy. These conditions include China's huge potential domestic market and solid resource foundation. China's solar energy industry has already taken shape, and progress has been made in technological development and innovation.
Given the recurrent oil and coal price spikes as well as the power shortages nationwide, energy, and energy uncertainty, is increasingly having a bottleneck effect on China's economy. This brings new opportunities for the development of solar energy. In the near future the cost of electricity from solar generation will come close to or even become lower than that of power generation by coal. This will make it practical for China to conduct vigorous development of solar energy. China's solar energy industry, having been nurtured in the domestic market for over ten years, is fully launched by now, and it has built momentum for rapid development in the future.
China is the biggest solar water heater producer and consumer in the world. Both her output and consumption of solar water heaters account for over a half of the world total. Research shows that 58.52% of Chinese households have the intention of either buying solar water heaters or replacing their gas/electric heaters with solar ones within the next five years. It is estimated that, by 2010, with 70 million square meters more of solar water heaters to be installed before then, the overall area of solar water heaters installed in China will reach 100 million square meters, amounting to a market capacity of 60 billion RMB. The annual growth rate in the coming years will be maintained at 20 to 30 percent, which means that solar energy industry in China will become a genuine green "gold mine". If one quarter of the Chinese population uses solar water heaters, China's solar energy market in 2020 will be projected to reach 270 million square meters. And this is the target the Chinese government is working towards. Currently, the sales volume of solar water heaters in China is ten times than Europe's. Whether it is measured in terms of output or number of solar water heaters sold domestically, China ranks No.1 in the world. Solar water heaters are also being applied and adapted to a wider range of uses and purposes in China, further suggesting that solar energy has a very bright future there.
At present, there are about 28,000 villages in China. This represents 7 million households and 30 million rural people that have not yet had access to electricity. 60% of the counties that have access still suffere from a severe shortage of electricity. Most of these areas without power are rich in solar energy resources. They offer a huge market potential for photovoltaic energy production. As such, the Chinese government plans to exploit the rich photovoltaic energy and provide electricity for remote areas before 2010. Since 2005, China has begun large-scale construction of desert power plants and rooftop photovoltaic systems connected to the grid. The market share of photovoltaic energy is expected to grow from 4 percent in 2003 to 20 percent in 2010 and to 60 percent in 2020. Most solar energy enterprises pursue the mode of photovoltaic electricity generation, which is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. It is also the industry that generates the greatest profits among all renewable resource industries.
In solar cell industry, currently, China's solar energy industry has already developed a power generation capacity of 15 MW. Meanwhile, a solid foundation has also been laid for the photovoltaic electricity generation industry. Though the cost of photovoltaic generated electricity is still higher than coal-generated electricity, it is nevertheless an advantage in remote areas. As it does not incur the cost of maiuntaining power lines in these areas, small solar energy generators are comparably cheaper and more applicable. Herein lies the reason for both the popularity and prosperity of solar cell industry in recent years.
Be it the photovoltaic industry or the solar water heater industry, the future trend will be the development of the techniques for integrating solar energy utilization with construction.