Posts tagged with: Mike Ahearn

China has reinforced its commitment to moving forward to a more progressive, green economy by agreeing with First Solar the construction of a 2GW solar facility in Ordos, Inner Mongolia. The construction of the large solar facility will begin in June 2010 and is expected to be completed by 2014 in a multi-phase operation expected act as a demonstration of the Chinese governments resolve to make giant leaps towards a renewable energy economy.

 With the solar feed in tariff legislation making the headlines in the UK under the guise of the Clean Energy Cash Back Scheme, the Chinese project will be taking advantage of a similar tariff system with the price of electricity guaranteed at a premium rate over a period of years. Tariff systems such as this have generally proved to be extremely effective means of generating investment in new solar sectors.

 Mike Ahearn, CEO of First Solar commented that,

 “The Chinese feed-in tariff will be critical to this project. This type of forward-looking government policy is necessary to create a strong solar market and facilitate the construction of a project of this size, which in turn continues to drive the cost of solar electricity closer to ‘grid parity’ where it is competitive with traditional energy sources.”

Certainly, it is expected that with the Chinese feed-in tariff policy in place, there will be a number of other large investments in the Chinese photovoltaic (PV) market over the coming months and years. China is also the largest manufacturer of PV product needed for solar projects around the world and is therefore attracting much interest from those wishing to provide turn-key products from manufacturing, construction and installation.

“This major commitment to solar power is a direct result of the progressive energy policies being adopted in China to create a sustainable, long-term market for solar and a low carbon future for China. We’re proud to be announcing this precedent-setting project today. It represents an encouraging step forward toward the mass-scale deployment of solar power worldwide to help mitigate climate change concerns,” announced Mike Ahearn.

With China and in particular the capital, Beijing under the spotlight in recent years with concerns over pollution and carbon emissions, China is now making a very powerful statement to the world that they are about to be at the forefront of the solar revolution.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the heads of the worlds leading solar companies have met in Poznan, Poland to discuss the development and implementation of global policies designed to help the growth of the solar industry internationally and to lead the way in the reduction of Greenhouse Gases (GHC) in order to meet climate goals.

Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s Chairman and CEO, Jeremy Leggett, Executive Chairman of Solarcentury, Mike Ahearn, Chairman and CEO of First Solar, and Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director strongly advocated solar energy as a viable energy production solution which should be taken up by governments around the globe:

“Solar technology is no longer a niche energy solution, but is already reaching the scale and cost points to fundamentally change the way we generate electricity. As a result of substantial investments over the past 5 years, the solar industry has dramatically improved solar technologies and established roadmaps for further cost reductions. In fact, electricity generated from solar installations is already reaching parity with peak energy and retail energy prices in many regions.”

The conference concluded that the following objectives are the key to meeting GHG- reduction and economic-development goals:

·          Stringent, ambitious, international and national carbon regulation policies

·          Enforceable renewables mandates with a solar carve out or credit multiplier for solar energy

·          Near-term incentives that could include feed-in tariffs, partial rebates, tax credits and/or property-based loans

·          Favourable net metering, interconnection, permitting and land-use policies.


The recent UK Energy Bill will certainly have pleased the consortium as it gives provisions for the implementation of feed-in tariffs by 2010 which are seen as being fundamental to the setting up of a coherent renewable energy solution. The plans are for the government to guarantee a fixed, premium rate for energy fed back into the national grid by small, renewable energy producers and will be essential to the UK meeting its climate change goals.