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Renewable energy: Solar stimulus in China

Solar panelSolar panelWhile gasoline prices are rising once again, we are all reminded of our need to be less reliant on non-renewable, carbon-emitting sources of energy, which add pollution to the earth’s atmosphere and enhance the greenhouse effect. One of the renewable energy sectors that have been getting support from the Obama administration through the Department Of Energy (DOE) stimulus funds is the

 Per the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, China has already surpassed the U.S. in the amount of CO2 discharge, and that will continue to grow with the country’s continuos economic development, and also as more Chinese buy their first cars.

The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) is the primary climate-change data and information analysis center of the U.S. Department of Energy.  The Chinese government set goals to generate about 36% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020. Solar, in particular photovoltaic, plays a major part in this: starting this year till 2011, the national government already granted significant subsidies – 50% of construction and distribution of solar-power plants that are on-grid, i.e. integrated into the utility grid, as well as 70% for installations off-grid.

On grid refers to grid-integrated systems that receive power from an electric utility.  Other terms for on-grid are grid-ties, grid-connected, or grid-integrated systems, that generate electricity for your home or business and route the excess power into the electric utility grid.  Renewables, like solar panels, that are used extensively in rural areas, which are not serviced by the utility grid, are called off grid power systems.  Both terms are used for solar and other renewable energy sources, such as wind power.

 Several American companies have already signed agreements with China and are receiving its stimulus: First Solar from Arizona will build the largest solar plant in the world in Mongolia. Canadian Solar, Inc. from Ontario is also developing projects in Mongolia. Several Chinese solar companies that are listed on the U.S. stock exchange, are also securing capital like Solarfun Power Holdings Company of Shanghai, China (NASDAQ: SOLF), a leading global manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules. Solarfun has investments from top private equity firms such as Citigroup Venture Capital, Good Technologies, Hony Capital, and Legend Capital.

Additional resources:

Energy Information Administration – Official energy statistics from the U.S. government.

DOE resource - Global CO2 emissions report

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