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商业 - 能源

中国太阳能之王:我们不是要挤垮美国同行

Brian Dumaine 2012年02月29日

我认为,说中国公司挤垮了美国同行,这种说法不公正,因为中国也有很多太阳能公司倒闭。至于补贴,美国政府曾经在Solyndra公司倒闭前向它发放了一笔高达5.28亿美元的贷款,而我们从没得到过那么好的待遇,从来没有。

    十年前,施正荣博士前创办尚德电力(Suntech)时,他做梦也没想过自己的太阳能电池板公司这么迅速就能达到现在这样的高度。尚德电力位于中国无锡,制造的高质低价太阳能电池板远销全球80个国家。作为行业龙头,尚德在2011年的销售额大约为31亿美元,同比增长了7%。不过,尚德遇到的阻碍也不少。激烈的成本削减已经对所有太阳能股造成了损害,尚德也无法幸免。此外,美国商会(The US Chamber of Commerce)最近指称,中国的太阳能公司存在倾销行为。即便如此,施正荣博士仍看好太阳能产业的发展前景,尤其是在中国国内市场不断升温的情况下。这次瑞典达沃斯的世界经济论坛(WEF)期间,他接受了《财富》杂志(Fortune)布莱恩•杜梅因的采访,跟我们分享了他的看法。

问:太阳能电池板的价格在下跌,而产业的增速却在放缓,是什么原因造成了这种情况?

    答:2001年太阳能发电的价格大约是6美元/瓦,现在是1美元/瓦,太阳能电池板价格每年的跌幅将降到5%至10%。可以把它想象成一块海绵,大量水分从供应链中被挤了出去。全球光伏产业去年增长了30%,今年的增幅却会回落到到20%左右。在欧元区深陷泥潭的情况下,作为全球最大的太阳能市场之一,甚至连德国地区的销售也在放缓。

价格下跌已经对企业利润率造成损害了吗?

    不错。一年前,太阳能产业坐享30%的利润率,而现在已经下滑到13%。我们应该能够把这个数字保持在10%,这样在大规模生产的情况下,它依然是一门好生意。

美国方面指责中国太阳能厂商利用政府补贴在美国市场倾销廉价的太阳能电池板。

    我认为,说中国公司挤垮了美国同行,这种说法不公正,中国也有很多太阳能公司倒闭。至于补贴,美国政府曾在Solyndra公司倒闭前向其发放了一笔高达5.28亿美元的贷款,而我们从未得到过那么好的待遇,从来没有这种好事。如果存在关税的话,太阳能产品的价格就会上涨,许多项目就无法继续,也无法创造出新的就业机会。

现在的机遇在哪里?

    福岛灾难发生后,日本关闭了大部分的核反应堆,表示会转向可再生能源。到目前为止,中国生产的太阳能电池板主要用于出口,但现在也在向国内市场转移。中国市场真的在蓬勃发展,最终会推动全球市场再次实现高速增长。今年,中国预计将安装4至5千兆瓦的太阳能电池板(发电量大致跟一座核电厂相当),足足是短短两年前的10倍。

太阳能产业将能达到怎样的规模?

    如今,太阳能在全球能源市场的份额大约只占1%。我们的价格在很多市场上已经开始具有竞争优势。我认为,太阳能产业在未来5年内将摆脱对政府补贴的依赖,而这将有助于加快太阳能产业的发展。到2050年,25%的电力将来自于太阳能。

    译者:王灿均

    When he founded Suntech 10 years ago, Dr. Zhengrong Shi never dreamed his solar panel company would rise so far so fast. Suntech (STP), based in Wuxi, China, builds high-quality, inexpensive solar panels that have been installed in 80 countries. The company, the biggest in the industry, estimates sales for 2011 of roughly $3.1 billion, up 7% from the year before. But obstacles abound. Fierce cost cutting has hurt all solar stocks, Suntech included. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has recently accused Chinese solar companies of dumping. Even so, Dr. Shi sees a healthy solar industry ahead, especially as the domestic market in China heats up. He shared his views with Fortune's Brian Dumaine at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Q: Solar panel prices are dropping, yet growth is slowing. What's going on?

    A: In 2001 solar power was about $6 a watt; now it is $1. The drop in solar panel prices will slow to 5% to 10% a year. You can imagine it's like a sponge. A lot of water has been squeezed out of the supply chain. The global photovoltaics industry grew 30% last year and will slow to about 20% this year. With the troubles in the eurozone, sales in Germany, one of the biggest markets, are slowing.

This price drop has hurt margins?

    Yes. A year ago the industry enjoyed 30% margins, and that's down to 13%. We should be able to maintain 10% margins, and with the big volumes we're producing, it will be a good business.

The U.S. has accused Chinese solar manufacturers of using government subsidies to dump cheap panels on the American market.

    I think it's unfair to say that Chinese companies are squeezing out American companies. China has so many solar companies that are failing too. As for subsidies, we never got anywhere close to the $528 million loan the U.S. government gave to Solyndra before it went out of business. Nothing like that. If there's a tariff, the price of solar goes up and many projects become unaffordable and new jobs aren't created.

Where are the opportunities now?

    After the Fukushima disaster, Japan shut down most of its reactors and said it would move to renewables. Until now, China has mostly exported solar panels but is turning toward domestic consumption. The market is really taking off and will eventually make the whole global market grow faster again. This year China will install an estimated four to five gigawatts [the rough equivalent of a nuclear power plant]. That's a 10-fold increase from just two years ago.

How big can solar get?

    Today it's only about 1% of the global energy market. In many markets we already are price competitive. I think in five years' time solar won't need subsidies and that will help accelerate growth. By 2050, 25% of our electricity will come from solar.

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