Saturday, June 13, 2009

China Leads World in Solar Cell Production

Although China leads the world in solar cell production, the country exports 98% of its photovoltaic products to overseas markets. The country could be facing a >6% electrical supply shortage by next year. In its preliminary report on China’s photovoltaics (PV) policy roadmap, the SEMI PV Group recommends that the country accelerate its adoption of PV-generated electricity to reach the global average by 2014. Although China has been building a
massive PV industry representing all facets of the supply chain — from polysilicon feedstock, ingots and wafers to cells and modules — almost all of the PV production has been exported. At the same time, China faces a rapidly increasing demand for energy.

China derives almost 70% of its energy from coal and other fossil fuels, which play a central role in the country’s economy. The use of fossil fuels generates massive amounts of carbon dioxide, and the external costs of using coal will reach 13% of China’s GDP by 2020, according to the World Bank, which comes as a result of the steady increase in China’s energy demand. On the supply side, in 2010 by some estimates, after accounting for coal, hydro and nuclear power, there could be a 6.4% shortage in electrical supply, which will need to be filled by renewable energy.

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