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Blinded By The Sun: How Much Do Solar Panels Really Cost?
Government supports one-time loan guarantee
The California solar startup is promising, but is now bankrupt.
Solingdra has severely damaged U. S. support for clean energy.
At that time, I guessed that financial forces similar to sinking solindra would sink several major Chinese solar equipment manufacturers sooner or later.
A series of recent defaults by Chinese solar makers suggest that I am at least partly right.
In 2013, Suntech Power, a solar maker based in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu, defaulted on $0. 541 billion in convertible bonds.
Suntech filed for bankruptcy in Manhattan in February to seek American protection. S. creditors.
Meanwhile, LDK Solar, a Jiangxi-based Solar maker, defaulted on the same huge amount of bonds due in February.
According to Bloomberg, LDK Solar is threatened by the prospect of bankruptcy, saying it has received $0. 321 billion in loans from a loan consortium led by the China Development Bank.
The same bank has lent LDK billions of dollars.
In 2011, LDK received $8.
According to the Mercom Capital Group in Austin, Texas, 9 billion from the China Development Bank-
The Chinese government\'s sweeping financial subsidies for domestic solar makers are stunning.
In 2009, while in the United StatesS.
On 2009, Ethan Zindler, Bloomberg\'s head of New Energy Finance, said the subsidies would lead to a glut in solar manufacturing. Citing a $5.
In 2010, Yingli Solar received 3 billion loans from the National Development Bank of China. Zindler said: \"This loan alone, there are several similar loans from banks, this will help double the production of global solar components over the next few years.
During the period from 2009 to 2011, the production of solar panels by Chinese manufacturers quadrupled and exported at a low enough price, greatly expanding the market share of China\'s solar industry.
Between 2009 and 2011, the price of the module dropped from $2. 79 to $1. 59 per watt.
Chinese companies believe that economies of scale and technological progress are responsible for a sharp drop in costs.
Not everyone agrees.
\"The explanation for the simultaneous sharp increase in production and the sharp decline in prices is not entirely a happy economic event of cost reduction and technical performance improvement in economies of scale and maintaining commercially attractive profit margins, the author of a report on the future of solar energy at MIT said.
\"Instead, the explanation for this price decline is the global, mainly the over-expansion of production capacity in China and Asia, batteries and modules, coupled with the financial crisis, Europe\'s heavily subsidized PV market demand growth has declined. ”After a 13-month-
A long survey of the United StatesS.
The Department of Commerce has also come to a similar conclusion: China has been pricing solar exports below production costs to weaken foreign competitors and gain market share.
Including Chinese subsidies are destroying our industry, \"said Ben Santarris, corporate communications director at SolarWorld, a solar panel maker based in Hillsboro.
Meanwhile, the Department of Energy\'s SunShot program is funding research efforts aimed at cutting all costs.
By 2020, the cost of solar energy was less than $1 per watt.
To do this, solar manufacturers must produce modules that cost less than 50 cents per watt by 2020, 75% less than the cost in 2010.
Just three years after SunShot was founded, a Chinese solar company announced it was producing components that cost less than 50 cents per watt.
What bothers me most is how many people seem to believe that technological innovation-not subsidies in China-is the reason for these amazing cost reductions?
Shyam Mehta, senior solar analyst at GTM Research, said: \"I believe this is the first time in human history that a module company costs less than 50 cents per watt . \". Really?