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China As Solar Tech Resource for Developing World
Jamais Cascio, 23 Aug 04

This could be big news.

SciDev.Net reports that China plans to train 10,000 technicians from the developing world on the deployment and use of solar power technologies over the next five years.

Describing the plans, Xi Wenhua, director of both the Institute of Natural Energy (INE) and the China Solar Energy Information Centre, told SciDev.Net the training will include programmes on small-scale solar power generation and solar-powered heating and irrigation.

[...]

According to Xi, China has some of the most advanced and practical solar energy technologies of any developing country. While admitting that China's solar energy technologies are less efficient than those of Germany, Japan and the United States, he adds that the cost of producing them is much lower than in industrialised countries.

The costs of solar technologies continue to drop in China as it pushes forward in its plan to get 5% of the country's power from solar within ten years. But the efficiency and cost of the solar power systems may be secondary to the relationships being built between China and these various developing nations in the realm of alternative power. Remember the observation in last week's post about BusinessWeek: Someone is going to make a lot of money off of the response to global warming and the shift away from fossil fuels. China is positioning itself to be that someone not by trying to skim the cream of American, Japanese, and European markets, but by becoming the business partner of choice for the myriad nations that will need power to support development but don't have an existing fossil fuel-based power infrastructure already deeply entrenched.

The value to both China and the developing nations is evident: China gets larger markets for its solar power systems and wraps up a technology relationship with these nascent markets which could last decades, while the developing countries get experience with useful technology and the beginnings of a power infrastructure well-suited for the increasingly diverse and distributed nature of 21st century electricity networks.

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Comments

finally someone is investing bigbux in this technology, like i prayed the american military, for example, would have done back in the 70's.
so,little, so late, the other side of the world.
how are the mighty fallen...bring. it. on...
love this site, thanks
m


Posted by: michael dunkley on 23 Aug 04

Actauly america is also doing rather well on solar dev its just that the military hasnt NEEDED what it was developing yet so they havnt been soo blabby about it till recently.

Its only with the explosion in the use of tech gadgets that us mil has realy needed to go from lab to real and so only recently did that phase of developement take place.

Now what us mil came up with is a uber cheap flexable solar cell thats fairly eff but far more importantly is very very light and easy to make into such shapes as a tent or clothing.


Posted by: wintermane on 24 Aug 04

A friend of mine works for an american RE company, and just got back from an extended working trip to China. He spent six months training Chinese technicians in photovoltaics installations and associated control electronics. Another friend, very famous advocate of windpower from the midwest, has spent a lot of time over the years training the chinese in the use of small scale windpower installations.


Posted by: Conrad on 24 Aug 04

the US should be busting its ass to put together a similar relationship with China, for the same reasons but moreso - the Chinese demand for our more advanced vehicle (especially alternative fuel vehicles, natural gas & biofuels) and energy technologies is potentially huge, and could play an important role in helping our energy tech companies reach economies of scale much more quickly. it would also help begin to take some pressure off world energy markets from the enormous increases in Chinese energy consumption. and hey, we should take every opportunity we can to keep relations with these guys supercordial.

these kinds of ideas as outlined at length in a paper by the woodrow wilson center, some name like 'crouching suspicions, hidden potential' or something. I posted some excerpts on my blog, here.


Posted by: John Atkinson on 24 Aug 04



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