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What we can learn from China's heavy investment in solar energy

What we can learn from China’s heavy investment in solar energy(Written by Jeff Wolfe, Co-Founder and CEO of groSolar via Cleantechia.com)As I write this I am preparing to board a very long flight to China, where

I’ll be talking to a few Chinese PV module manufacturers, as well as our

existing inverter supplier, Motech, in Taiwan. This will be a chance to

meet and greet potential future suppliers on their own ground, and review

factories as we consider sourcing more materials from China, but there are

many things I already know before embarking.New York Times Columnist, Tom Friedman is right. China is investing heavily

and preparing to leave the rest of the renewable energy world in the dust.

In the past two weeks Suntech, currently the largest solar module

manufacturer in the world, signed 2 GW (2000 MW) of projects in China.

Those 2 GW represent merely the contracts of a single company. Last year –

and likely this year – the total U.S. market is 350 MW (0.35 GW). Granted,

not all the Chinese projects happen this year, but plans are on paper –

there is a schedule.Yes they have a labor advantage, but China is also pumping a lot of money

into R&D in order to make the next generation of renewable energy products,

and they are succeeding.The U.S. does not have a command and control economic system, nor am I

suggesting that it should. But when it comes to alternative energy, we can

learn a lot from China’s strategies – regardless of differences in our

economic systems. China is telling their banks to support PV companies with

strong loans, both for domestic and foreign. So the real irony is that I am

going to China not just to find products, but to find financing

(preliminarily offered) to install those products in the US. The engine for

job creation in the US may well be Chinese bank project funding. Meanwhile,

U.S. banks are still waiting on a loan guarantee program, which was

promised six months ago, is guaranteed to be complex and may not even work.

The last U.S. loan guarantee program failed.The demand for solar exists. The need for action exists. All that’s missing

is political will, and streamlined policies that will strengthen our

economy, create jobs, save the environment and, in the long term, decrease

the cost of living. It’s time for the U.S. to lead; we just need leaders

with vision, who will quickly put that vision into action.For the very latest solar jobs from across The U.S., China and globally

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