Suntech, the world’s biggest maker of polysilicon solar-power modules from China looks to pair up with Israel Electric Corp on solar-power plants. Image via Suntech
Catalysed by the World Expo in Shanghai perhaps, the previous solar deal between Heliofocus and Sanhua, and/or linked to the $35 million deal between Suntech and Israel’s SBY Israel and China may be aligning on the solar front. Bloomberg business news is reporting that economic ties could get a whole lot warmer between China and Israel: Suntech, the world’s largest crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules is expected to join Israel’s government-owned electric company Israel Electric Corp to develop solar projects and innovative technologies to boost solar panel efficiency. Israel Electric’s senior VP Yakov Hain said that the two groups are looking to coordinate research to develop solar technologies, and to collaborate on the design and construction of power plants – utilizing existing technology.
As business with the EU weakens, Israel looks to the East and hopes to attract Chinese investment.
Good news: Suntech is not only interested in developing and researching these technologies in conjunction with the Israel Electric Corp but are interested in potentially providing financing for this work too. This marks an important shift away from other more typical finance sources as we see a declining availability of funds coming out of Europe as the Euro weakens amidst concerns of spiraling debt and slow growth for some of the countries in the EU.
China has pledged to reduce its carbon-dioxide emissions per unit of economic output 40 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2020. As such, Israel is looking to capitalize on China’s need to attain this goal by opening up investment channels to Israel’s ever-burgeoning clean tech sector. Solar power is an obvious market for China and Israel to tackle together as Suntech and Israel Electric Corp Ltd are established leaders in the field.
The two companies could build power plants in countries that Israel Electric is already familiar with, such as Italy, Hain told Bloomberg. The US, Germany and the Mediterranean countries are also possibilities, he said.
The efficiency of solar cells right now is rather low, converting just below 20% of the sun’s energy into usable electricity, but Israel Electric believes that with the use of a special polymer they have been experimenting with to replace the silicon in these apparatus, they may be able to increase the efficiency levels by 40-50%. The collaboration between the Chinese and Israelis here may effectively combine experience with creativity to find this increase and potentially change the face of the solar market.
Suntech has already established a major presence in the United States with its San Francisco US Headquarters and plans to start a production facility in Phoenix, Arizona in 2010. This newly formed alliance were it to move forwards will certainly be an interesting one and one that holds much promise for the future of solar technology.
More green news between China and Israel:
Heliofocus Gets Sunny Investment from China’s Sanhua
Suntech’s $35 Million Solar Panel Deal With Israel’s SBY
China’s ET Solar Enters Israeli Market Through Local Rep