Is China Solar Slumping?
Solar energy may be the answer to our power problems but companies engaged in the manufacture of PVs are experiencing gloomy days. Several years ago, solar cells were too expensive to be purchased by the ordinary masses. As such, they were bought by research centers and large corporations which could afford to pay big bucks. Now, however, the cost of panels has dropped drastically and while that bodes well for ordinary consumers, it has affected manufacturers big time. Recently, the Innovation Summit held in China saw the gathering of government officials, industry experts and PV execs from Chinese and foreign companies. While the consensus was that solar energy will soon meet at least one-third of the world’s power requirements, unless PV manufacturers develop more efficient and innovative equipment, the Chinese solar industry could witness a downward spiral.
China exports over 90 percent of its solar module components abroad. But the drop in profit margins on module components as well as US investigations into anti-subsidy and anti-dumping has worsened the scenario, said Haitong Securities. In the first quarter of 2012, the industry’s revenue in China fell by 33 percent with net profit dropping by a huge 99 percent. Ding Xin of GT Solar Shanghai Co Ltd stated that the current slump should be used as motivation to develop better equipment and technology though Haitong Securities expressed misgivings, saying that there’s no telling when things will pick up again.
According to American Applied Materials, the solar segment made a big contribution towards China’s increase in revenue in 2011. While the year 2010 recorded revenue of $1.5 billion, 2011 witnessed a steep rise of $2.5 billion. The company’s vice president Charles Gay said that more needs to be invested into China to continue driving down the cost of photovoltaics. He also advocated for opening and creating free trade which, he added, was a delicate balance.
'EcoFriend' is an environmental blog. The idea behind EcoFriend is simple: to inform and educate consumers who love to possess the latest gadgets and products available in the market and who are also concerned about the environment around them.
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