This post is the fourth in a series by guest blogger Abby Poats.
While a quick Google search reveals that Baoding—unlike Xi’an and nearby Beijing—does not make China’s top 10 must-see list, the city is not without its charms. In addition to its historic and scenic attractions, Baoding—located a one-hour train ride south of Beijing in neighboring Hebei Province—is both an increasingly common destination for renewable energy investors and perhaps a worthwhile stop for clean energy and green design enthusiasts.
While better known as the origin of Chinese meditation balls (“Baoding balls”), the home of the famous “Donkey Burger,” and the birthplace of 2004 and 2008 Olympic diver gold medalist Guo Jingjing, Baoding is a key leader in China’s renewable energy technology manufacturing industry.
Established in 1992, the Baoding High-Tech Industry Development Zone (BHTIDZ) today has become China’s “Power Valley,” a key renewable energy industrial base hosting manufacturing plants that have generated over 20,000 local jobs. Among these solar and wind technology manufacturers are Yingli Solar, one of the world’s leaders in vertically integrated solar photovoltaic manufacturing, and Tianwei Wind Power Technology, a leading Chinese wind turbine manufacturer.
While the factory compounds and assembly lines are no doubt impressive, tours are limited to professionals on official business. The nearby Power Valley Jinjiang International Hotel (PVJJ), however, is a welcome respite from the bustling plants and is open to the public. When guests first stroll through the lobby and gaze up at the chandelier, they may think the dark lattice pattern is more a modern aesthetic statement than anything else. A quick chat with the charge at the front desk, however, will brief guests on the hotel’s 0.3 megawatt (MW) installed capacity of building-integrated solar photovoltaic modules, which are capable of generating 260,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity.
Furthermore, PVJJ boasts a heat pump system that processes urban wastewater to provide for the hotel’s heating and cooling needs, making the and as such, making the hotel a stimulating stop for green building proponents.
As these are just a few highlights of Baoding’s impressive achievements in the fields of renewable energy technology manufacturing and implementation, all comments—from readers who have also visited the city to those who are curious for more specific details on Baoding’s renewable energy industrial development—are welcome!
Abby Poats is a Research Associate based in Beijing with the Washington DC-based American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) US-China Program (USCP). She also teaches English at China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing through the Princeton in Asia (PiA) fellowship program. Her blog entries contain her personal reflections and do not reflect the views of ACORE USCP.
Photo credit: WebCarta.com, GreenArch, and EzineMark
This post is the third in a series by guest blogger Abby Poats. Abby Poats is a Research Associate based in Beijing with the Washington DC-based American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) US-China Program (USCP). She also teaches English at China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing through the Princeton in Asia (PiA) fellowship program. Her blog entries contain her personal reflections and do not reflect the views of ACORE USCP.
One of China’s staple travel destinations, Xi’an—the present-day capital of Shaanxi Province and one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China—is world-renowned for its 8,000-strong subterranean army of Terracotta Warriors. Each year, tens of millions of Chinese and foreign tourists make their pilgrimage to Xi’an to behold these imposing forces commissioned in 210 BCE by Qin Shi Huang, the fierce first emperor of China, to be entombed with him to help him maintain his imperial dominance in the afterlife.
Glossing over 3,100 years of rich, tumultuous history brings us to the present day, as Xi’an adds to its subterranean Terracotta forces a new set of warriors taking on the paramount task of driving innovation up and cost down in the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry. In order for this development to even be possible, however, the regional economic development strategies of the 1990s first had to catalyze capital investment in poorer regions that had not benefitted as much as cities in the east during the 1970s and 1980s. Xi’an, like several other western cities, soon became home to strategic industrial development zones, which today host research, engineering and manufacturing facilities for the software, telecommunications, and aerospace industries. Today, Xi’an’s 40 universities and over 10,000 annual graduates provide Xi’an’s industrial zones with world-class research capacity.
Hosted by the Xi’an High-tech Industries Development Zone, U.S.-based Applied Materials, the world’s leading provider of solar PV equipment, opened the Applied Materials’ Solar Technology Center in October 2009. As the largest non-government solar energy research center in the world, the facility, according to Applied Materials CEO Mike Splinter, “represents a critical breakthrough for the photovoltaic industry and China” and the “industrialization of the global solar industry.”
The facility will focus on research, development and demonstration as well as testing and training for both crystalline silicon and thin film module manufacturing processes. Furthermore, the center will allow local technology suppliers to work with Applied Materials engineers on testing and enhancing the efficiency of their current materials and systems. Former capital of thirteen ancient dynasties, Xi’an is working today to distinguish itself as China’s capital of solar research and development. While the city marked the terminus of the Silk Road in the distant past, Xi’an seems poised to become a key origin of solar innovation in the near future. by Abby Poats
Photo credit: The Perpetual Globetrotter and Tech On!