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Sun shining brightly on blossoming green industry

By Liu Yiyu (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-01-20 07:43
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Sun shining brightly on blossoming green industry

A worker checks solar panels to be sold to the United States at a plant in Shandong province. Dong Naide / For China Daily

BEIJING - In the recent Hollywood movie Wall Street, Chinese investors fund the world's leading green technology.

Likewise in reality, China is on track to play a leading role in the green sector, as more Chinese companies in the sector are investing in the United States and creating jobs.

Goldwind Science & Technology Co, one of the country's largest wind turbine manufacturers based in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region,made a significant mark in the US last month by winning a bid to supply China-made turbines to an Illinois-based large wind farm project.

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The Shady Oaks project is Goldwind's second wind turbine project in the US.

Goldwind said it would buy more than 60 percent of its materials locally. In a previous project in the US in January 2010, it used about 63 percent US-made content.

The Chinese manufacturer set up Goldwind USA in May 2010. As funding has been an issue for many local developers, Goldwind USA offers debt and equity financing to customers and strategic partners throughout the US, aside from providing a variety of wind power solutions including sales, service and manufacturing platforms.

In the near term, Goldwind USA expects to expand within the US by adding manufacturing facilities as part of its international growth.

Sinovel Wind Group Co Ltd, China's largest wind turbine maker, was also in discussions with the Ohio state government on the possibility of opening a factory there.

"The local government welcomes such investment because it will create jobs," said Tao Gang, vice-president of Sinovel.

But unpredictable long-term policies may be an obstacle for Chinese investors to expand in the US market, said industry experts.

Like the wind power industry, the solar-energy market is also developing a more and more globalized industry chain.

The US is importing and exporting solar products from every continent. In the meantime, Chinese solar manufacturers not only export products to the US but also contribute to local employment.

Since October 2010, China's Suntech Power Holdings Co has been making panels in a 36,500-square-meter plant in the Arizona desert.

Suntech's Arizona factory brings the company closer to its American customers and is in compliance with the "Buy American" requirements in some government contracts.

It also means more job creation to the local government: more than 1,000 people turned up at a recent Suntech job fair.

"This is truly an international marketplace, especially when you're talking about solar. It always has been. It makes a very positive statement - here's a Chinese solar company that's literally exporting jobs from China to the US," Roger Efird, managing director of Suntech, said earlier.

More than 8,000 applicants were vying for 150 jobs at Suntech's Arizona plant, its first in the US. The plant is part of its long-term strategy for the US, which the company expects to be its biggest market in three years.

Suntech hopes its first manufacturing plant in the US can help ease worries that China is taking green jobs from the US, especially when the employment situation stateside remains bleak.