Friday, December 14, 2007

More solar stories from China

Nantong Qiangsheng Photovoltaic Technology Co Ltd (QS Solar) has launched a $400 million project to build three 25 MW amorphous silcion thin film production facilities in Nantong in northern Jiangsu province. QS Solar has intentions of an IPO in the U.S. sometime next year, joining the highly successful league of Chinese solar companies listed on U.S. stock markets. This piece speculates that QS solar is getting its supplies of production equipment from the likes of GT Solar or Applied Materials.

An industry observer predicts, however, that the sunny days of Chinese solar companies may cloud in the face of international foreign competition, as China's advantage of low labor costs slowly erodes. Chinese companies, whose products are predominantly exported out of China, need to seize the opportunities of tapping into its domestic market, although that would entail overcoming serious challenges in grid connection and pricing which Chinese policy makers are still grappling with as they try to implement the country's new renewable energy laws.

Finally, an uplifting rags-to-riches expose on China's Mr. Solar Water Heater--Huang Ming, founder of China Himin Solar Energy Group, the world's biggest producer of solar water heaters. The company had revenues of 2 billion yuan last year. Of the other 3,000 solar heating companies in China, only 10 earn 200 million yuan annually. More than 2 million sq m of Himin's heaters alone are installed on rooftops every year, nearly twice the total of Europe and North America. Huang Ming's solar dreams look set to expand as favorable government policies seek to expand the use of solar water heaters.

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