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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-18-08 02:49 PM
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Sand Pebbles: Solar Powers Silicon Dreams in China

Posted By Keith Johnson On March 18, 2008 @ 1:31 pm In Solar, China | No Comments

Chinas enormous appetite for raw materials clearly has a big impact on the rest of the world, as weve noted. But its not just a one-way street: One of the worlds biggest solar companies, Chinas Suntech Power, is still struggling to find a way around the shortage of pure silicon it needs for its solar panels.

Now theres light at the end of the tunnel, says Suntechs billionaire founder Zhengrong Shi. Speaking at The Wall Street Journals ECO:nomics conference last week in California, he said Suntech is seeing signs that the explosion of new silicon producerslike Nitol Solar in Russiais finally putting some slack back in the system. That would be great news for Suntech, whose share price was poleaxed after pricey silicon dented profits.

Before there were only eight manufacturers globally to produce silicon, but now its 100. We do believe in the next two or three years the price will come back again and the market will be even expanded more rapidly, Dr. Shi said. He said he expects new supplies of silicon to start hitting the market from 2009.

And not a moment too soon for companies like Suntech. This year it aims to make 1 gigawatt of panels, twice as much as in 2007. But it only has long-term silicon supply contracts in place for about half of this years production. That leaves it on the hook to pay spot prices for the other half, which seriously dents profits and could crimp production.

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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-18-08 04:09 PM
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1. One company to make 1 GW of PV modules this year
Only one silly little GW...

What a failure...

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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-18-08 04:54 PM
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2. Indeed, a failure
China alone is adding over 80 GW of coal-fired capacity per year, and India is close behind them.

If you built 80 plants, each producing 1 GW of solar a year, they wouldn't make a dent in CURRENT coal consumption in China alone, much less the rest of the planet. They would simply stop ADDITIONAL coal plant construction, while the existing coal-fired plants continue to emit 25 BILLION tons of CO2 per year.

The more one reads of the scale of the problems we are facing, the scarier the picture becomes.
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