The Newsletter 62 Winter 2012

Development characteristics of the solar energy industry and related policies in China

Xiaohua LI

As a clean energy source with rich resources, solar energy has great prospects and is the focus of the development of renewable energy all over the world. The two most important utilizations of solar energy are: (1) solar power, which converts solar radiation into electrical energy using semiconductors that exhibit photovoltaic effects (solar photovoltaic power generation – or PV for short); and (2) solar thermal, which converts solar radiation into heat. If this thermal energy is then used to generate electricity, it is called solar thermal power generation. In recent years, both China’s PV industry and its solar thermal industry have expanded rapidly, but their paths of development have differed significantly. Renewable energy policies have played an important role in the development of China’s solar energy industry.

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