Not too late for Aussies to be solar winners

Australian solar scientist Dr Zhengrong Shi became the wealthiest person in mainland China and the fourth richest Australian after founding a company to manufacture electricity-producing solar cells in Wuxi, near Shanghai, in 2001, reported The Sydney Morning Herald (12/9/2006, p.14).

Early gains can be renewed: Although Australia had lost its world lead in developing a solar energy industry, it was not too late to catch up, said Shi, 43, who in 1989 was a PhD student in the groundbreaking Sydney photovoltaics laboratory run by Professor Martin Green and Professor Stuart Wenham.

Sunshine to burn: "But we have to think long-term and in a more creative way. Australia has the best solar technology. And we have got so much sunshine. Our coal and gas will only become more valuable with time, why sell it off so quickly? We should exploit our renewable energy and save the resources for the future," Shi said.

Great leap after China investment: Shi had been persuaded to found his company, Suntech Power Holdings, after the Wuxi region offered US$6 million to establish a conventional photovoltaic solar cell plant. Within three years of start-up, it was among the world’s top 10 solar cell makers.

Germany makes long-term commitment: About 80 per cent of Suntech’s sales were to Europe, primarily in Germany, which has made a long-term commitment to promoting photovoltaics and other renewable energies – a strategy Australian solar scientists thought this country would do well to emulate.

Renewables catch on in Asia: Suntech last month had bought a Japanese photovoltaics solar company, MSK Corporation, to boost its standing in that growing market. In China, it should benefit from a renewable energy law that took effect in January which aimed for 15 per cent of China’s energy to be generated from renewable sources by 2020.

Solar to light Olympic track: Suntech had been selected to provide solar energy for Beijing’s bird’s nest stadium, where the 2008 Olympic track and field events will be held.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 12/9/2006, p.14

Source: Erisk Net  

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