Today, billions of people around the world will gather with friends and family to celebrate the Lunar New Year. This is a sacred time of year, especially for our colleagues in China, some of whom will travel thousands of miles to be with family. It’s so important that we encourage our China-based employees leave work a day early to beat the traffic.
In China, New Year’s Day is sometimes referred to as Yuandan (元旦), which literally means “the first dawn” or “the first sunrise.” The sun is certainly rising for solar energy, especially in China. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a record 12GW of solar (PV) capacity was installed in China last year, roughly the equivalent of twelve nuclear power plants. To provide a sense of scale, 12 GW would represent nearly 50 million solar panels, which, if placed end-to-end (at ~1.8 meters per panel), would wrap around Earth twice. And that’s just in China; globally, nearly 40GW of solar panels were installed in 2013!
Of course, there is much work still to be done. Although growing rapidly, photovoltaic technology still accounts for less than 1% of global energy production, as humans continue to rely primarily on extracting and burning fossilized solar energy (a.k.a. fossil fuels), a major contributor to human-made climate change. If we hope to solve this global problem before inflicting irreparable harm to our planet, then the solar industry must learn to run even faster in this Year of the Horse.
We want to wish all members of the Yingli Family, including our friends, customers and partners, a happy and prosperous 2014. It’s an honor to work with you to steward our global industry’s continued growth and development. Although today was not the first sunrise for our industry, we will embrace the New Year with the same sense of optimism and pragmatism that has characterized our global energy revolution.
Here’s to another record breaking year for solar in China and everywhere under the sun.