Suntech Power Holdings Co.Ltd. signs new agreements and makes submission to Senate inquiry.

Workers holding solar panels

(Photo of solar panels in production courtesy Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd)

Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. have signed a five year supply agreement with PV Crystalox Solar PLC, a specialist multicrystalline solar wafer manufacturer today. Under the agreement, PV Crystalox

Solar will supply Suntech with a total of 260MW of silicon wafers from 2008 to 2013.

This comes after yesterday signing a two-year agreement with Enel.si, a subsidiary of Italian utility Enel, to supply 30MW of solar modules in late 2008 and 2009.

Suntech is one of the largest solar module manufacturers in the world and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: STP). With 5 Production Sites at Wuxi, Luoyang, Qinghai Nagano, Japan, and Shanghai (under construction), we have 8,000 global employees.

Suntech CEO, Dr Zhengrong Shi was quoted by the Xinghua news agency as saying

“With a strong demand outlook for 2009, the emergence of a number of high potential solar markets in Europe, and growing sentiment supporting the need for renewable energy, we are confident that the solar industry will sustain long term growth. We will continue to develop and diversify our silicon channels to ensure we have a stable base of raw material supply to support this industry growth.”

In fact Dr Shi, in a written submission to the Save Our Solar (Solar ProtectionRebatre) Bill 2008 before the Australian Senate, envisaged improvements to the efficiency of solar cells in the near future:

“We envisage the cost of silicon (a key ingredient in PV panels) to fall sharply by 2012 – to the extent that the cost of PV panels will fall by up to 50%.”

“Suntech Power has a long-standing affinity with Australia. Our founder and global CEO
Dr. Shi Zhengrong is an Australian citizen and developed many of his world-leading solar power technologies during his time working at the University of New South Wales.”

In spite of this the Australian government has set a means test for rebates for installation of solar panels that has generated much criticism.  The Suntech submission outlines the problem with the government policy:

“It is important that Australia develops a strong solar power industry. A robust and growing solar sector will help reduce greenhouse gas emission, have a positive impact on our environment and create jobs in new, emerging technologies.”

and

“increased production scale is largely contingent on healthy ongoing demand in the
community. If the means test has an adverse effect on public demand, it will result in lost
installation jobs and the loss of critical installation experience in the sector.

Moreover, if vital momentum is lost during these formative years, taxpayers will end up paying twice for the same solar megawatts. This is due to having to once again provide incentives towards solar power, with the additional requirement to once again to re-engage consumers after the market disruptions are over.

If Australia wants lower solar power costs in the long-run, it needs to
invest wisely. This requires stable, long-term planning in consultation with the local installation sector, whilst fully using other factors such as education.”

It is an irony that Suntech lists on its timeline of the history of Solar:

1985 – The University of New South Wales breaks the 20% efficiency barrier for silicon solar cells under  1-sun conditions.

Dr Shi has built one of the foremost companies in the Solar energy field, remains a citizen of Australia, was chosen as “50 people who could save the planet” by British Journal “the Guardian” and named one of TIME magazine’s 2007 “Heroes of the Environment”

Successive governments over the years have let opportunities in this technology slip away and now this means test appears to yet again stop progress dead in its tracks. It is hoped that there will be a re-think on this policy to give all Australians the opportunity of “making a substantial contribution to Australia’s green energy future.”

In the words of the Suntech submission:

“Solar power is an intrinsic public good, which is demonstrated through relieving transmission and distribution congestion, minimising climate pollution and reducing the number of new power plants; with their adverse water usage and environmental impact.”

Read the submission in full at this link:

PHOTO:

CEO of Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. Dr Zhengrong Shi. (Photo courtesy Suntech Power HoldingsCo. Ltd.)

Dr Zhengrong Shi

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~ by abstraktbiblos on Friday, 1 August, 2008.

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