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Marina van Geenhuizen and Qing Ye

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Marina van Geenhuizen and Qing Ye

This chapter investigates the conditions for mass-manufacturing in the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry in China since the early 2000s, specifically the cities’ role of ‘institutional entrepreneur’. China’s PV industry has grown tremendously thanks to a match between policy incentivization of local industry and rising global demand for sustainable energy. Several cities gained leadership in mass-manufacturing and this is illustrated in the chapter through case studies of two companies, Suntech Power and Yingli Green, in Wuxi and Baoding, respectively. In particular, Wuxi can be seen as an institutional innovator, as evidenced by its recruitment policy of Chinese talent from overseas and refined interaction with provincial and national policy in financial incentivization of domestic companies. Today, China leads in acceleration of adoption of solar energy in Europe and US, as it hosts about 70 per cent of global production of solar cells/panels. However, since around 2012, the industry has also seen restructuring to increase product quality and improve efficiency.