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Solar cell makers get boost from rising oil prices

Post Time:Aug 19,2008Classify:Industry NewsView:406

Soaring oil prices may turn out to be a boon for mainland China’s growing solar cell industry. A surge in demand for cheap renewable sources of energy, particularly from signatory countries of the Kyoto Protocol, is pushing China’s solar cell industry to new growth frontiers.

Makers in the region are optimistic that worldwide initiatives to reduce anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases within 2008 to 2012 will increase the uptake for solar cells, panels and downstream products. In a research conducted by JPMorgan, worldwide shipment of solar cell modules is projected to grow at a CAGR of 46.7 percent between 2007 and 2010. The global solar cell market is expected to grow to about $15.51 billion or 8,600MW worth of energy by 2010.

Makers address possible polysilicon shortage

The sudden increase in solar cell demand may squeeze the global supply of silicon, a critical source material for solar cells and consumer electronic products, such as computers and mobile phones. In 2005 and 2006, the worldwide solar cell module market slowed down due partly to a shortage in polysilicon supply.

Mainland China consumes about 25 percent of the world’s silica reserves and its solar panel industry imports nearly 90 percent of its silicon requirement. To address the possible shortage, about 40 mainland companies have invested in full-scale polysilicon production.

In line with its target to increase the use of renewable energy to 10 percent by 2010, mainland China is also set to install 450MW photovoltaic systems.

400 makers in Yangtze, Pearl River Deltas

The number of solar cell- and panel-related manufacturers in mainland China add up to more than 400 companies, including 12 publicly listed corporations.

The Yangtze River Delta area in Fujian has the most number of solar cell producers in mainland China. Key solar cell module suppliers Suntech Power and China Sunergy are both based in the area. The Pearl River Delta area in Shenzhen, however, remains an important production base for various solar assemblies and applications. Nearly 70 percent of the world’s supply of small solar products come from the two river deltas.

For instance, Fujian-based Xiamen NPST Co. Ltd has three existing production lines working at full capacity and producing about 20MWp annually. It plans to invest $3 billion in two more production lines to service orders from Southeast Asia, Africa and other new markets.

NPST sources its materials, including solar cells, LED lamps and toughened glass, from domestic partners. It has recently released a solar/wind-powered street lamp system that works in overcast and rainy days.

Source: Glass InternationalAuthor: admin

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