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Posted Wed May 27 2009: from Guardian (UK):
China puts its faith in solar power with huge renewable energy investment
China is the world's leading ­manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) panels, which turn sunlight into electricity. But 95 percent of these are exported. While solar thermal power, in which sunlight heats water, is in widespread use, the central government and the five major utilities have deemed PV power too ­expensive, particularly compared with coal, which generates ­electricity for between an eighth and a tenth of the cost. But the global economic crisis and ­increasing concerns about climate change and energy security have prompted a change in attitudes. Since last year, a glut in supply of PV panels has pushed prices down by more than 30 percent, cutting ­profits of domestic manufacturers such as Suntech. To support them and widen the ­country's energy base, the plan is expected to include the biggest ever boost for solar power, along with extra spending and ­policy support for nuclear, wind and ­biomass power. By 2020, the government is committed to raising the share of ­renewable energy ­(excluding hydroelectric power) in the energy mix to 6 percent, from the current 1.5 percent.
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'Doc Michael says:
Can they make photovoltaics as cheap as their crappy microwaves?

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