China Bathes in Solar Energy
China being “quite a large country” has the advantage of that over two thirds of this area can be utilized for solar energy production with around 2000 hours of sunshine every year. This has not gone unnoticed and both domestic and overseas developments are taking place and some on quite a large scale.
Applied Materials , a US based company, are the latest in a long line of overseas corporations setting up bases in China. With the establishment of a solar power technology centre in Xi’an, Shaanxi Provence, Applied Materials aim to boost the research and development of thin film solar technology and crystal solar panels along with the training of engineers in the solar power field.
As one of the largest suppliers to the semiconductor industry, Applied Materials hopes to further increase its share of the solar power energy market.
First Solar has been given the go-ahead to build a solar energy production site in Ordos, Inner Mongolia by the Chinese government. The projects is estimated to take 10 years to build and will have a capacity of 2,000 MW of solar produced electricity. This would be the equivalent output of 2 or 4 coal power stations and without the environmental hazards such as CO2 pollution and hazards of coal mining.
Along with solar energy, China is also embracing wind technology. A 20 megawatt wind development is planned in Gansu Provence. It is hoped that the first stage will be online by the end of 2010 with a capacity of 5 megawatt of wind energy being produced.
Away from the large scale production, Beijing has set up the “Sunshine School Project”. The aim here is to build 100 energy efficient schools. Starting with solar powered lighting and displays. The project develops further with the utilization of solar energy for hot water and heating. These smaller scale energy saving projects will demonstrate that solar energy can be utilized for more remote areas to being some comforts to villages without the need for massive electrical production. This and the education of the school children of environmentally friendly products should produce the a next generation of Chinese more aware of the hazards of using non renewable energy.
With China is still a large polluter with a large number of coal power stations. It does seem that the country is embracing renewable energies without taking the easy way out and relying totally on coal power.