January 11, 2008 (EnergyAsia) – A new study, “China Solar Energy Industry Research and Forecast 2008-2010” has just been released, said online retailer Research and Markets Inc. China is expected to emerge as one of the greatest solar energy production bases in the world after 2008. 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 RMB60 billion. (US$1=RMB7.25).
According to the report, China’s solar energy industry is expected to grow by 20% to 30% per year.
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. This is the target the Chinese government is working towards.
Currently, the sales volume of solar water heaters in China is 10 times than Europe’s.
Whether it is measured in terms of output or number of solar water heaters sold domestically, China ranks No1 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 seven million households and 30 million rural people that have not yet had access to electricity. Around 60% of the counties that have access still suffer 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% in 2003 to 20% in 2010 and to 60% 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.
China’s solar energy industry has already developed a power generation capacity of 15 MW. Meanwhile, a solid foundation has 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. Small solar energy generators are comparably cheaper and practical.
Major Chinese solar energy enterprises including Taiwan’s Motech, Wuxi’s Suntech Power, Yingli Green Energy and Sunoasis from Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region have been producing at capacity, receiving orders that have to be put off well into the future.