CSP review of solar water heater industry competition

The solar water heater industry is fiercely competitive, but it is difficult for the industry to represent the high-end CSP industry.

The light and heat that started at almost the same time as photovoltaics did not experience the ups and downs of the photovoltaic industry, but its progress was very slow. Without the dilemma of a listed company, the most widely used new energy industry in China is at the low end. In China, nearly 3,000 companies in the field of photo-thermal technology are mostly small and medium-sized enterprises that produce solar water heaters. Industrial heat utilization and solar thermal power generation have not been successfully applied. Solar water heater has become synonymous with China's light and heat industry.

The low position has become the biggest problem faced by China's light and heat industry.

Water heaters are hard to market

Whether you like it or not, you have to admit that the so-called "light-heat products" are solar water heaters. Some industry experts also jokingly told the China Association for Photothermal Utilization that “You should change the name to the China Solar Water Heater Industry Association!” It is undeniable that after 30 years of development, solar water heaters have become very competitive in the domestic market. The degree of specialization in the production of water heater parts is very high, so SMEs can easily purchase spare parts and only need assembly and production. As a result, the technology and capital thresholds for companies entering the solar water heater market are very low. The majority of the nearly 3,000 companies that compete in solar water heaters are small and medium-sized enterprises. With low starting points and poor management, it is generally difficult to meet the listing requirements.

"And more SMEs do not have to consider the issue of corporate listing. They only need to make money and have profits. Nor do they need to engage in joint-stock system. The family system can, and even a group of three or five friends can do it. There is no need for a particularly high level of education. As long as you understand this technology, you can do it with this skill." Zhang Jiancheng, an expert in solar thermal power generation, said to China's Economy and Information Technology.

In addition, photovoltaic power generation equipment has a high profit margin. In recent years, it has caught up with the use of renewable energy sources such as the European Union, the United States, and Japan. These countries have used renewable energy sources in large amounts under fiscal subsidies, and have adapted to the support and orientation of China’s export-oriented policies. Technology equipment can be imported from abroad. The technology maturity is high, and local government GDP contributes prominently. On the contrary, solar water heaters are small in scale, dispersive in production, dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises, and have a low contribution to local finance. Therefore, it is difficult to obtain government support, and it is even more difficult to obtain favor from the capital market. Few listed companies can easily understand it.

The thermoelectric industry has not formed

Although the solar water heater industry is inferior to the speed and scale of photovoltaic development, at least it still forms a complete industrial chain. However, solar thermal heat utilization has not yet formed an industry.

In 2006, the Chinese Institute of Electrical Engineering applied for the implementation of the 863 plan marked the beginning of China's thermal power generation, but the practice is different from the EU.

The EU has played a leading role in the development of solar thermal power generation. By 2011, the 7th SET plan has been implemented. They have implemented the solar thermal power generation project and target decomposition to enterprises, including supporting funds, rather than to the research institute.

In addition, through years of experiments at the PSA experimental site in Spain, they have selected a mature trough thermal power generation technology route and introduced a new “European trough” concentrator with high technical level, and intellectual property rights are shared in the European Community. Others Technical experiments are implemented in different countries at the same time.

"And our country is different. China's scientific research authorities have not chosen the internationally mature technology route based on experiments, but have chosen a tower technology with low maturity." Zhang Jiancheng said: "The National Energy Administration has chosen The trough-type thermal power generation technology was observed for an observation period of up to 6 years. The first trough solar thermal power generation project in China was delayed until the beginning of the year, and it was not unrelated to the selection of technical routes.” He also pointed out that solar thermal energy The power generation industry is still zero in China. Although some research institutes claim to have studied in the national "7th Five-Year Plan" and "Eighth Five-Year Plan", they have not left any technical results that can be used for reference, and the technology accumulation is equal to zero.

The photovoltaic industry is different. Photovoltaic power generation originally belonged to the semiconductor manufacturing industry. In this industry, photovoltaic products belong to the lowest level of semiconductor processing technology and products. Low-level technologies and mature equipment are easily introduced from abroad and there are no restrictions. In this regard, China has a talent base and industrial technology foundation. "Compared with high-tech fields such as large-scale integrated circuits and fine processing technologies in the field of photo-thermal, China has a large gap with foreign countries." Uncertainties in the technology line have caused various parties involved in the development of the industry to indecisive. Photovoltaic power generation is really developing in our country Since 2006, the 70 kW tower power station in Nanjing, trough type thermal power collector tube technology development earlier, since around 2000, and has a successful case. In 2009, the trough thermal power plant of China Aviation General Equipment Co., Ltd. operated, but so far trough heat power generation technology has not yet been recognized by the government.

In view of Zhang Jiancheng, the current trough thermal power generation has a relatively basic basis, mainly for the core components of the water heater industry, heat collector technology, and its development has prepared the technical conditions for solar thermal power generation. At present, China has an annual output of 200 million full-glass collector tubes, and the output ranks first in the world.

However, the pattern of China's light and heat industry is a pack of scattered sand, hegemony and hegemony. "The local government rushes to grab the project, the state-owned enterprises strive to become busy operators, the private enterprises try water equipment manufacturing to rob the market, foreign companies are busy applying for patent-based barriers, the securities industry has a new topic and hype, the technology line is long In short, the hype is better than manufacturing and down-to-earth operations, and the relevant departments of the central government are only guiding the observation and waiting for the spontaneous formation of the industry," said Zhang Jiancheng.

In terms of venture capital, state-owned enterprises are not willing to take responsibility for risks and state finances do not invest in risks. Venture capital agencies are waiting to see opportunities. The current status of the light and heat industry is that private enterprises are more active than state-owned enterprises, and local initiatives are higher than the central government.

Industry experts believe that the formation of this pattern may be due to the positive and negative effects of the development of wind power and photovoltaic industry. On the positive side, we all want to share the cake early and seize market opportunities. The main negative impact on policymakers may be more of a concern that solar thermal power will come to the fore and become another wind power and photovoltaic without core technologies.

All this led to a delay in the development of the light and heat industry.

Is the golden period coming?

The light-heat industry, which has suffered from a lack of policies, will usher in the golden age of its development.

In the first half of this year, the National Development and Reform Commission promulgated the Guiding Catalogue for Industrial Structure Adjustment, and solar thermal power generation was placed first in the development of new energy.

Luo Zhentao, executive director of the Solar Thermal Industry Alliance, believes that this means that in the future, the country will vigorously promote solar thermal power generation and related equipment manufacturing.

The favorable policy has attracted many companies to start investing in venture capital in the light and heat industry.

According to Zhang Jiancheng, CSP has no solid foundation in China, including its technical foundation and talent base. Therefore, the formation of a complete industrial chain will inevitably undergo a cultivation period, which is totally different from the photovoltaic industry. "Solar thermal power generation has not yet developed to the point of 'pregnancies in October' in China. At present, it is only a success of 'pregnancy', which at least embodies the recognition of this technology by policy makers and is included in the development plan. Nutritional feeding for pregnant women and fetuses is a human condition. If you want to make planning a reality, you need the government to provide policy support and industrial care. This is necessary and necessary. "Now, CSP has been listed in the United States and the European Union. In order to replace the base energy of fossil energy, although there is still controversy in China, but the power sector is more optimistic about solar thermal power generation, apparently from the solar thermal power generation can be stored through the heat storage. Good technical advantages of power generation quality, if we overcome the discontinuous and uncontrollable defects, solar thermal power generation will become the dominant energy in the future.

Zhang Jiancheng believes that the biggest bottleneck of CSP in China is the structure and formation of the industrial chain. The best way is to give full play to the institutional advantages of concentrating on the major issues in China, based on a recognized or nationally recognized solar thermal power generation technology route. , Grant grants and risk investment to enterprises that have a certain research base, obtain intellectual property rights, and have initial development achievements, and concentrate their efforts on research. It does not engage in academic research, misconduct or miscalculation, nor does it entirely rely on private venture capital investment. Instead, it is led by the National Energy Administration, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and other industrial authorities to tackle key problems and include it in national major projects, according to the industrial chain structure. The deployment of the project will focus on enterprises, combining production, education and research to speed up the formation of thermal power generation industry.

At the same time, he pointed out that whether this can be achieved depends on whether the relevant national authorities can understand this technology from a strategic perspective, especially if it has the potential to have a significant impact on future energy development. If you do not see its prospects and cannot understand this technology from a strategic level of energy, it is likely that you will continue to lag behind the developed countries.