President Obama wants to make the United States “the world’s leading exporter of renewable energy,” but in his seven months in office, it is China that has stepped on the gas in an effort to become the dominant player in green energy — especially in solar power, and even in the United States.
Chinese companies have already played a leading role in pushing down the price of solar panels by almost half over the last year. Shi Zhengrong, the chief executive and founder of China’s biggest solar panel manufacturer, Suntech Power Holdings, said in an interview here that Suntech, to build market share, is selling solar panels on the American market for less than the cost of the materials, assembly and shipping.
Backed by lavish government support, the Chinese are preparing to build plants to assemble their products in the United States to bypass protectionist legislation. As Japanese automakers did decades ago, Chinese solar companies are encouraging their United States executives to join industry trade groups to tamp down anti-Chinese sentiment before it takes root.
This week, China started building its largest solar power plant in Golmud, Qinghai. From tradingmarkets.com:
The first phase of China’s largest solar power plant project, boasting 200MWs, began construction in the Golmud Desert of Qinghai on Thursday.
The project, invested by China Longyuan Power Group, a subsidiary of China Guodian Corp., is planning to invest 4 billion yuan (US$585 million), 400 million yuan of which will be expensed in the first phase.
Longyuan Power affiliated to China Guodian Corporation, one of the national power producers, signed the contract with Golmud’s government to cooperatively construct the 200MW solar power project.
The Telegraph also reports that China is “running away with the green technology prize.“