China's photovoltaic (PV), a solar energy sector, has been experiencing accelerated growth in recent years, but the difficulties in commercializing the power it generates, has bottlenecked its profit vision.
|"The amount of energy is expected to meet the demand of an entire nomad home, and supplement that in any office building in big cities like Beijing," Li Hejun said. [Chen Boyuan / China.org.cn]|
But China's PV industry has yet to find a profit model and commercialize the clean energy generated through solar power only.
In China, the average cost of PV power is still high, according to Li Hejun, Chairman of China New Energy Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of Hanergy Holding Group, a leading private clean energy manufacturer in China.
At the 6th China New Energy International Forum held in Beijing on Friday, Li said the entire PV industry in China is currently struggling to drive the cost down to less than one yuan per kilowatt hour, but declined to specify which manufacturers had achieved the goal. He said this was already a huge development as "in the starting years of the PV industry, the cost was several yuan" – as high as ten times the cost of thermal power.
Aside from the cost, docking the PV electricity with the country's power grid has also posed a problem. According to Li, the State Grid would not agree with what's known as a compensation plan, in which PV manufacturers wish to receive the same amount of free electricity from the grid as they deliver to it.
"The State Grid only wants us to sell our PV electricity to them, and then have us buy the same amount, only at a higher cost," Li said, also alluding to the industry's current difficulty in storing energy, and noting that windpower mills are facing similar headaches.
Describing the State Grid's declination as "understandable," Li said Hanergy eyes to break the barrier and has proposed the building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) concept.
In the BIPV concept, PV cell plates will coat buildings and turn them into separated solar power stations capable of generating enough electricity for the buildings' own uses.
Hanergy authorities noted that such technologies do not require a cluster effect and are applicable both in remote areas as well as in big cities. "The amount of energy is expected to meet the demand of an entire nomad home, and supplement that in any office building in big cities like Beijing," Li Hejun said, adding that the State Grid is still the source for the adequacy if there is any.
But Li Hejun has already regarded solar energy as "not only a supplement" but as a "would-be replacement" for traditional fossil energy. He is optimistic that PV popularity in China will experience a substantial growth over the next five to ten years.
Speaking of the recent so-called US' anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures against the Chinese PV industry, Li noted that from an industrial viewpoint, the US measures only targeted polysilicon cells, whereas thin-film cells, Hanergy's main products, were not affected.