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Firm taps Chinese solar power sector

German solar panel component maker Heraeus said yesterday its sales surged 50 percent annually in China’s solar power sector over the first nine months of the year.

The firm, however, didn’t unveil the sales figure but it said China contributed 65 percent to its global sales in solar power business this year. The company’s solar power sales has jumped since the start of the year boosted by China’s surging solar farm installations, said Andreas Liebheit, president of Heraeus’s global photovoltaic business.

Heraeus is the world’s largest silver paste maker with a 40 percent share of the global market. Silver paste is a component used in solar panels to conduct electricity.

China installed 38.28 gigawatts of solar power from January to August, up 49.5 percent from the end of last year, according to the China Electricity Council.

The rapid growth in solar power installation from last year was because "solar component costs are declining much faster,” said Alex Liu, analyst for energy and public utilities at UBS.

The cost to generate one kilowatt-hour of solar power fell to 0.6 yuan by the end of last year from 1.5 yuan five years ago.

Alongside the cost drop, China's solar power industry will also benefit from the government's call for more distributed power grids, Liebheit said. This “suggests the nation should be the long-term key market for global producers,” he said.

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