China Policies Spur Local Wind Energy, Photovoltaic Markets

Chinese government policies intended to promote the adoption of green technologies are having the desired effect, with the country enjoying a boom in wind power capacity and Photovoltaic (PV) installations that is fueling the establishment of a new generation of global green energy suppliers, according to iSuppli Corp.

"Thanks to assiduous government support, the China markets for wind turbines and photovoltaic solar energy- two major green industries in the country-climbed to new highs in 2009, the latest year for which statistics are available," said Isaac Wang, senior analyst for China research at iSuppli.

"Overall, the newly energized green initiatives come in the wake of a pledge from Beijing, announced in December 2009 at the Copenhagen World Climate Conference in Denmark, to cut China’s carbon emissions in 2020 by about 45 percent from their 2005 levels. To achieve the target, China has indicated willingness to reduce reliance on noxious coal sources while also bolstering its fledgling renewable energy industries in order to produce cleaner power."

Wind Power Gusts to Favorable Conditions

For the wind energy market, new wind farm capacity generated in the country amounted to 25,100 megawatts (MW) in 2009-more than double the 12,100 MW of power posted in 2008. China’s output last year accounted for nearly one-third of new wind capacity generated worldwide during the same period, iSuppli data show, and continuous growth in the sector over the past five years propelled China to surpass Spain in 2009 and become the world’s third largest provider of wind power. Only three years ago, China had ranked 10th globally in wind power, with 6,100 MW.

A bastion of support for the Chinese wind power market comes from local sourcing regulations. In particular, the state-run National Development and Reform Commission of China has ruled that domestic sourcing rates should make up at least 70 percent of wind turbines for facilities to gain construction approval.

As a result of the policy, locally manufactured wind turbines now account for more than 76 percent share of new orders, while also making up 62 percent of the total wind market in the country.

Together, the top Chinese players in 2009-Sinovel Wind Co., Goldwind Science & Technology Co., and DEC-account for 55 percent share of the wind turbines market, iSuppli figures show. In addition, more than $900 million in new business related to the sector is expected to be created annually over the next three years.

Photovoltaic Market Heats Up

Photovoltaic (PV) power installations grew faster in China during 2009 than the government had planned. While official forecasts had originally expected PV power installations to reach 300 MW in 2010, projections indicate that the local industry will generate 580 MW this year-fully exceeding the initial government targets.

China is currently the world’s largest PV cell manufacturing country as well as the leading global exporter. China in 2008 produced approximately 2 Gigawatts (GW) of PV cells-with more than 90 percent shipped outside the country. Among the world’s top 10 PV cell manufacturers are five Chinese firms, including No. 1 Suntech Power, as well as JA Solar, Yingli Green Energy, Ningbo Solar Electric and China Sunergy.

To encourage the development of the local PV industry, the Chinese government in March 2009 launched Solar Roof and Golden Sun, twin projects subsidizing domestic investment in PV power stations.

Over the next three years, the two stimulus programs will support 3 GW of new PV power stations in the country, expanding the roles of local firms in the entire PV supply chain. The programs are further expected to provide valuable experience for government policy makers while laying the groundwork for larger subsidy plans to follow.