Originally published on Sustainnovate.
In a bit of an unexpected move, the biggest heavy machinery manufacturing firm in China, the SANY group, recently announced that it will be investing around $7.7 billion (RMB 50 billion) into various solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in the country over the next 5 years.
The company’s first solar PV project — a 3.82 megawatt (MW) project which was recently finished and connected to the grid in the Changping District of Beijing — appears to have been intended as a pilot project, to test the waters so to speak. Given the success of the project — an operational efficiency roughly 10% above the average — the firm now seems intent to go full speed ahead with its solar plans.
A rep from the company recently commented that, while there were various different components to the company’s solar PV strategy — investments into solar PV project construction, microgrid development, solar PV project operation and maintenance, etc — the focus was on distributed projects, rather than large-scale ones.
Give the success of the company’s wind energy business — around $1.1 billion in sales during 2015 — the aggressive move into solar shouldn’t be surprising. The company seems to have determined that the distributed sector is in a boom phase and ripe for the taking.
The SANY group currently possesses an annual income of over $12 billion. Following the beginning of the decline of the construction boom in China a few years back, the company began diversifying into new business areas.