In recent years, thanks to vigorous promotion from the government of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, renewable energy has been widely applied in the construction market, laying a foundation for the development of the clean energy industry in the region.
The autonomous region's "8337" development strategy aims to "build Inner Mongolia into an output base of clean energy that guarantees the energy supply of Beijing and the whole country.” In the field of energy conservation and environmental protection, Inner Mongolia's photovoltaic industry has already been well-established. It is now being upgraded.
Energy revolution on rooftops
The Outline of the 12th Five-Year Plan for Urban Development of Hohhot mentions that efforts should be made to expand the application scope of renewable energy.
Hohhot is a demonstration city for the utilization of solar energy recognized by the National Development and Reform Commission.
It has won nine State-level demonstration projects involving the application of renewable energy in buildings, including the integration of solar thermal technology with buildings, solar heating technology, and the integration of solar photovoltaic technology with buildings. From the establishment of the first rooftop solar photovoltaic project in Hohhot to the introduction of the distributed solar photovoltaic system in households and working places, the solar photovoltaic industry, by falling back on its solid technological foundation, has become an important vehicle to achieve integration of solar energy and buildings.
Inner Mongolia's projects in new energy conservation technology, new material application, and renewable energy application have been multiplying in past years.
Some new projects have been included in the national renewable energy demonstration projects, and these projects may save an equivalent of 16,600 tons of coal annually. By late 2013, the solar thermal application area of Hohhot had surpassed one million square meters.
The Inner Mongolia Academy of Agricultural and Animal Husbandry Sciences is one of the earliest organizations involved in the photovoltaic industry. To respond to the state government's call for energy conservation and emissions reduction, the academy began to prepare for the integration project of solar photovoltaic technology with buildings.
Later in 2011, the project passed inspection from authorities. The 2.06 mW photovoltaic building integration project generates over 1,200 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day.
It has also applied solar thermal technology to greenhouses and vegetable planting. The solar thermals were used for the heating supply of the labs.
“Although the preliminary investment in solar energy greenhouses is relatively higher than that of average greenhouses, the former will reap considerable profit in later periods," said the person in charge.
Preferential policies for the photovoltaic industry
Inner Mongolia boasts rich solar energy resources and land resources, which has provided an enormous market for the region’s photovoltaic industry.
However, China's photovoltaic products have been facing higher barriers in export in recent years. In addition to the slowing down of the growth rate of market demand, the unbalanced development of the photovoltaic industry and other adverse factors have led to the premature demise of many photovoltaic enterprises.
A series of policies were put out in 2013 in response to such conditions, revitalizing photovoltaic enterprises during the downturn.
In May 2013, the government of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region released the Notice Concerning the Support of the Development of Photovoltaic Industry in order to give incentive to the development of the photovoltaic industry.
The government pledged that it would collocate 100 million tons of coal resources for every investment of 2 billion yuan in the supply chain of polycrystalline silicon, cell components and related supporting industries.
The notice encouraged the restructuring of manufacturing enterprises of polycrystalline silicon, monocrystalline silicon and cell components, as well as current power enterprises.
"As the capital city of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, many colleges, universities and research institutes are located in Hohhot, the hub of talent, and can meet the demands of various enterprises for professionals.
Meanwhile, since Hohhot takes a pivotal position in the power grid of Western Inner Mongolia, and serves as a vital hub to output the power of Inner Mongolia to the Beijing-Tianjin-Tanshan Power Grid and Southern Power Grid of Hebei province, it thus makes it convenient for new-energy power enterprises to connect with the power grids.
Located in the west of Inner Mongolia, Hohhot has rich land resources, and large tracts of desert and saline-alkali soil. Consequently, it enjoys particularly favorable natural conditions for grid connection and power stations in the desert.
With a temperate continental monsoon climate featuring less clouds, stronger solar radiation and longer sunshine, Hohhot is a good choice to develop the solar photovoltaic industry. To strengthen thermal development of the industry, the Hohhot municipal government has allocated 25 square kilometers of land for the photovoltaic industry.
“By far, Hohhot's photovoltaic industrial chain, which integrates the manufacturing of polycrystalline silicon, monocrystalline silicon and solar cells with component assembly and power station applications, has preliminarily taken shape," said Ren Shangjun, head of the key projects office of the Hohhot bureau of investment promotion.