90 Percent of Australia’s Imported Solar Panels Are Made in China

90 Percent of Australia’s Imported Solar Panels Are Made in China
A technician from Yingli Solar prepares solar cells in Hebei Province, China, on Dec. 4, 2014. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Daniel Khmelev

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows ninety percent of all solar panels imported into Australia came directly from China during the first 9 months of the 2020 financial year.

This cost Australia $1.1 billion (US$850 million), and from 2015 to 2020, Australia spent more than $5.3 billion (US$4 billion) on Chinese-made solar panels.

Federal Independent MP Craig Kelly expressed concern over the huge expenditure, saying that Australia’s renewables push has forced Australia to buy a vast number of solar panels from China.

“The net result will be a wealth transfer out of Australia to the communist party of China,” Kelly told The Epoch Times.

Meanwhile, Australia has only one solar panel manufacturer—Tindo Solar.

In a public letter to the government on Mar. 26, 2020, Tindo Solar CEO Shayne Jaenisch explained that the company risked shutting down due to cheaper Chinese alternatives and a lack of federal government support.

This, Jaenisch said, was exacerbated by potential lockdowns for the suppression of COVID-19.

“Our manufacturing industry has suffered because of cheap overseas imports,” Jaenisch said. “We don’t get any preference for selecting our product on Government Projects funded by taxpayers’ money (our money), and we have never received a single dollar in Government Grants.”

Out of the 20 largest solar farms in Australia (those with a capacity of over 100 MW), at least 14 were built entirely from solar panels manufactured in China.

This includes the largest solar farm in Australia, Darlington Point, able to produce 275 MW—enough to power 82,500 homes—as well as Bungala (220 MW), Sunraysia (200 MW), and Wellington (174 MW) solar farms.

The manufacturers include China-based solar panel producers JinkoSolar, Trina Solar, JA Solar, Risen Energy, and others.

Darlington Point’s solar panels were provided by Canadian Solar.

A masked worker in a lab coat sorting silicon wafers at the manufacturing centre of solar cell maker Trina Solar in Changzhou, China, on Nov. 28, 2009. (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
A masked worker in a lab coat sorting silicon wafers at the manufacturing centre of solar cell maker Trina Solar in Changzhou, China, on Nov. 28, 2009. (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Canadian Solar, which declares itself a Canadian company, produces and exports most of its panels from facilities in China and south-east Asia. The company was founded in 2001 and listed on the NASDAQ in 2006.

However, its claim to be Canadian contradicts Chinese language sources, including the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, CCCME, and Chinese technology company Sina that declare that Canadian Solar was China’s first photovoltaic company listed on the NASDAQ.
Further Canadian Solar won an outstanding contribution award during a conference with the China Photovoltaic Industry Association. According to Canadian Solar, the company became one of the first in the solar industry to respond to the CCP’s Belt and Road Initiative, having production sites along the Belt and Road in Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, and Indonesia.
According to Jiangsu Human Resources and Social Security Department, JSHRSS—a government office in Nanjing, China—and Sina, the current CEO and founder of Canadian Solar, Qu Xiaohua, was also selected to be part of the CCP’s Thousand Talents Program (TTP).
The purpose of the TTP is to find and recruit leaders in scientific research and innovation, something the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned to be one of the CCP’s avenues for economic espionage, “secretly bring[ing] our knowledge and information back to China.”
The Epoch Times reached out to Canadian Solar to confirm whether or not they were, in fact, a Chinese company but did not receive any comment in time for publication.

China Continues to Build Coal-Fired Power Plants

Despite China’s domination over the solar panel industry, the Asian giant is not itself hurrying towards renewable energy sources with a February 2021 report (pdf) by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) outlining that, despite President Xi Jinping’s recent pledge for the country to be carbon-neutral by 2060, the country has continued to develop coal-fired energy plants at a high rate.

The report indicated that in 2020, China commissioned 38.4 GW (38,400 MW) of new coal-fired power stations, more than Australia’s entire coal fleet of around 23 GW.

In Australia, almost all coal plants are planned for decommissioning by 2050 to meet net-zero carbon emission targets. One of these is Liddell power station, with a capacity of 2 GW is scheduled for closure in 2023.

Kelly pointed out that while China grew its arsenal of coal power plants, Australia continued to buy solar panels from China while cracking down on its coal generators.

“China built the equivalent of a new Liddell every 14 days, and yet we’re closing these things down,” Kelly said.

In 2020, China also initiated proposals for an additional 73.5 GW of new coal plants, bringing the total coal power under development to 247 GW—over ten times Australia’s coal power capacity.

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