As China’s gloomy photovoltaic solar industry endures trade investigations by the United States and the European Commission, the Swedish energy technology company Cleanergy AB is seeking opportunities to invest in the country’s renewable market.
Cleanergy installed its first commercial demonstration solar power plant with a capacity of 100 kilowatts in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region in western China last month.
The installation consists of 10 solar units, park management, a supervision system and an inverter-based power distribution system that complies with the grid code.
“China is making efforts to develop its solar industry to realize carbon emission reduction goals and to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy consumption mixture,” said Anders Koritz, chief executive officer of Cleanergy. “It has brought us the opportunities to apply our technology into the advanced solar power industry.”
He said after the large-scale commercialization of the solar units, the unit price of solar power could be reduced to 0.9 yuan ($0.14) a kilowatt-hour based on the current technology.
The dish stirling solution used by Cleanergy is a highly efficient solar-to-electricity energy conversion unit with a net conversion rate of more than 25 percent.
It consists of a solar concentrator which takes sunlight and concentrates it to run a stirling engine on the heat generated. There are only a few Chinese companies undertaking similar projects.
However, Koritz said it is still very difficult to realize the large-scale commercialization of the stirling engine development with high efficiency.
China’s five major power generation giants are in discussions with the company to develop the technology and similar projects, according to Koritz. But he declined to release the details of these projects.
However, he said they are expecting to get some contracts completed by next summer.
He believes the new technology can bring solar energy power production costs down to parity with fossil fuel.
The Chinese government recently published the 12th Five-Year Plan for the energy industry, saying that the country will reach a total solar power installation capacity of more than 21 million kW.