The Economist on the harsh environment overarching China’s plans for solar power eminence.
For a strong Chinese view from Xinhua:
Globally speaking, new energy is closely related to the welfare of mankind. China has already become a leader in new energy development and will contribute even more in the future. To that end, it would be prudent for all the world’s countries to refrain from engaging in trade wars and protectionism targeting new energy products.
See: Suntech bankruptcy hurts new energy drive in Xinhua, March 21, 2013
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Source – The Economist, published March 21, 2013
BP, an oil giant formerly known as British Petroleum, ran an ill-fated marketing campaign some years ago proclaiming itself “Beyond Petroleum”. The idea was to trumpet its big investments in renewable energy, especially its brief position as one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of solar panels. That effort came to be seen as greenwash as punters realised that the company’s dabbling in greenery did not take away its zeal to produce—and alas, it turned out, recklessly spill—gargantuan quantities of the mucky black goop that has always been the main source of its profits.
Not long after that, Suntech, a Chinese solar-panel manufacturer, skyrocketed to the top of the world solar industry. So stratospheric was the rise in the firm’s valuation after it went public in 2005 that Shi Zhengrong, its founder, was briefly China’s richest man. At the peak of his wealth and his company’s prospects, he grandly even declared his ambition for Suntech to become as big as BP.
As a clean-energy company, Suntech at least had the chance to fulfil BP’s misleading promise of going beyond petroleum. Alas, Suntech has instead ended up beyond profit.