In his inauguration speech this week, President Obama asserted that the United States needs to lead the international transition to renewable energy, rather than resisting it. No doubt he had China in mind as one of the biggest competitors in the emerging race to clean energy. Well, the U.S. had better get a move on. Data has now come to light that China is emerging as a massive end–market for solar panels, as well as a huge producer of them. The race is on.
NPD Solarbuzz has revealed in its Solarbuzz Quarterly report that China is now purchasing and installing a third of all solar modules manufactured worldwide. As little as two years ago, the end-market in China was less than 10% of global demand, so that’s quite a leap!
Senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz, Michael Barker, has said that he thinks this is the start of a new chapter for the solar industry, with “China potentially taking center stage in both the upstream and downstream channels.”
President Obama stated in this week’s speech that, “We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise.” If the United States wants to make this a reality, it’ll need to move quickly and aggressively forward with clean energy polices and development, and the conservative side of American politics will need to support this, rather than fighting it. This is the future, and they need to embrace it.
Are the major greenhouse gas emitting nations of the world finally starting to realize, at the highest level, that the race to clean energy is a big part of the struggle for economic viability in the 21st century? Has the penny finally dropped?
Image CC licensed by Matthijs Koster: Solar panels on rooftop in Kumming, China