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Photovoltaic Energy: Achieving A Negative Carbon Earth And Improving Human Settlements
Source: GFHS | Author: Li Zhenguo | Publish time: 2020-05-27 | 231 Views | Share:

Abstract: The climate crisis caused by the global warming has seriously threatened the survival and development of human beings, and realizing the transformation and substitution of traditional energy sources as soon as possible is undoubtedly the most effective way to address the climate problem. As the most concerned renewable energy, the photovoltaic power generation has been driven by technological progress, the efficiency of photovoltaic conversion continues to improve, and the cost of power generation has fallen rapidly, and it has become the cheapest form of energy in most parts of the world. The “Photovoltaic + Energy Storage” will achieve a large-scale replacement for traditional energy, the photovoltaic application scenarios continue to expand. The "Solar-for-Solar" Negative Carbon Earth concept advocated by LONGi helps to effectively respond to the climate crisis and fundamentally improve global human settlements.

Keywords: LONGi, photovotaic, energy storage, "Solar-for-Solar" negative carbon earth concept, SDG7, zero carbon cities and human settlements

Shanxi Datong Panda power station built by LONGi

I. “Photovoltaic Energy + Storage” is one of the future energy solutions for mankind

The sun is the source of energy for everything, and it is an inexhaustible renewable energy given by nature to mankind. Photovoltaic power generation is a technology to convert light energy directly into electric energy by using the photovoltaic effect of semiconductor interface. The global distribution of solar light resources is relatively balanced, as long as there is sunlight the photovoltaic power can be generated, and the acquisition of sunlight resources is completely cost-free, making the  photovoltaic power plant maintenance costs almost zero as well. By calculation, using 1% of the desert area of the earth for photovoltaic power generation, the electricity generated can meet the needs of all human beings, and photovoltaic power generation is completely pollution-free, with zero greenhouse gas emissions.

As human beings enter the new millennium, people come to pay more attention to their ecological environment, pursue sustainable development, and create a beautiful living environment at the minimum cost of ecological environment. Seeking low-carbon and clean renewable energy and promoting the transformation of traditional energy structure have become the global consensus, and the green energy represented by photovoltaic power generation will also become the main energy for the future of mankind.

LONGi Photovoltaic power plant case

Driven by technological progress, the cost of photovoltaic power generation has achieved a rapid decline, and in the past decade, the cost of photovoltaic power generation has been reduced by 90%, which is even faster than the photovoltaic industry practitioners expected. At the same time, energy storage technology is also making rapid progress, through the cooperation of energy storage technology, the discontinuous problem of photovoltaic power generation can be solved. This allows us to foresee that in the near future, photovoltaic+energy storage will become the most economical power energy in the world.

Water Pumping Energy Storage Technology: when there is water resources and terrain drop in a region, the water pumping energy storage is a good choice for photovoltaic power generation energy storage, its technology is mature, considerably economic. The extra part of photovoltaic power generated during the day can be used to pump water to a high-leveled reservoir, and at night the reservoir sluice discharges water for power generation, to achieve continuous power supply.

Electric Vehicle Energy Storage: We can take the increasingly mainstream electric vehicle as the perfect energy storage carrier, use photovoltaic power generation during the day to charge the electric vehicle for the daily use; when at night after ensuring its own required electricity, the fully
  charged battery can transmit the power back to the grid. The world's 1 billion electric vehicles can store 100 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a day, which can fully meet the global demand for electricity at night.

Chemical and Other Energy Storage Methods: Energy storage technologies are advancing rapidly, the cost of energy storage is falling too, which is $0.1 per degree nowadays, just one third of that ten years ago; in the next 10 years, the cost of chemical energy storage can be reduced to one third of the current cost.

When photovoltaic + energy storage becomes the most economical power energy in the world, the substitution of photovoltaic energy for traditional energy will occur on a large scale, and photovoltaic power generation will not only be a solution to the future energy of mankind, but also a powerful weapon to deal with global climate change.

Ningxia Baofeng Group photovoltaic power station built by LONGi

II. “Solar-for-Solar” is achieving a negative carbon earth

The problem of global warming is becoming more and more serious, and voices of all countries in the world to jointly launch climate action and curb climate warming are becoming stronger. At the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2015, nearly 200 countries took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and agreed to adopt the Paris Agreement to make arrangements for a global response to climate change after 2020. This global trend has also led us to think about how photovoltaic energy will transform the existing energy structure of humankind and what role photovoltaic energy will play in future human communities?

In 2018, I had the privilege of listening to a lecture at Cambridge University entitled Earth 2050 by Mr. Martin Reese, a leading astrophysicist and former dean of Trinity College. At the lecture, the veteran researcher was full of worries about the future of the earth, especially the great destruction of the earth's ecology caused by human activities in the past 100 years. There, we had some communication and discussion, and I even argued with Mr. Reese. As one of the most intelligent scientists on this planet, I admire his concern about the future of mankind, but I realize that he seriously underestimates the role of photovoltaic energy in the future of mankind.

The Cambridge trip set me thinking about the great potential of photovoltaic energy for the future of the earth: as photovoltaic energy becomes the cheapest form of energy, a new era of global energy structure transformation will arrive, human beings will certainly achieve 100% clean energy supply in the near future. In this process, if we can realize photovoltaic product manufacturing completely with clean energy and even complete photovoltaic power generation, we can form zero carbon emission of photovoltaic industry chain manufacturing; if photovoltaic energy is combined with a variety of energy storage and long-distance transmission technology, it can effectively solve the intermittent problem of photovoltaic power generation. When photovoltaic power generation has three elements: economy, continuity and zero-carbon manufacturing, it can provide affordable clean energy for seawater desalination, long-distance water transfer, desert greening and other human settlements transformation. According to calculation, when 70% of the desert area of the earth becomes oasis, it can solidify all the carbon emissions caused by human history, realize the development of negative carbon, and restore the earth's ecology.

President Li Zhenguo spoke at the 24th UN Climate Change Conference

Based on these considerations, at the 24th United Nations Climate Change Conference, on behalf of LONGi, I officially launched the "Solar-for-Solar" concept for a negative carbon planet: We propose to build photovoltaic power station + water pumping storage energy, set up photovoltaic product plants to manufacture photovoltaic products by photovoltaic power generation, and form zero carbon mode of the whole industry chain of photovoltaic power driving photovoltaic manufacturing in places rich in light resources and close to the sea with a drop in the world.

Through the large-scale application of photovoltaic power generation, photovoltaic energy can be used for seawater desalination, desert irrigation, desert greening,
  vegetation coverage increasing, carbon dioxide absorption, and photovoltaic energy can play a positive role of ecology restoration. Finally the "negative carbon earth" can be achieved!

In July 2019, the 7th Kubuchi International Desert Forum was held in Inner Mongolia, China. As the world's only multilateral forum with the theme of desertification control, I was invited to share on the desertification control and improvement of the earth's ecology through photovoltaic power generation. One of the core difficulties of desert greening is the problem of water source. In the past, large-scale water diversion has not been achieved, and the huge energy consumption required for water diversion is one reason. Under the fossil fuel-based energy structure, the energy consumed by water diversion will also produce a large amount of carbon emissions. With the drive of technological progress, the cost of photovoltaic power generation has been greatly reduced, and photovoltaic power generation will gradually become the most economical energy in most parts of the world. The combination of photovoltaic energy and energy storage can completely meet the demand of large-scale diversion and desert greening, and all the energy consumption by the photovoltaic power generation will not produce any carbon emissions. As a result, photovoltaic desert control is a very ideal entry point for the "Solar-for-Solar" concept, and we will continue to explore on that.

Night view of Kubuqi Desert photovoltaic power station built by LONGi

III. Value of the photovoltaic power generation in improving the human settlements

2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of LONGi. From the choice of the technical route of photovoltaic products at the beginning of its establishment to today's "Solar-for-Solar" concept, thinking about the future in a way that is close to "quasi-philosophy", insisting on analyzing and making decisions from the essence of things, and constantly innovating photovoltaic power generation for the improvement of living environment at the level of technological innovation, green manufacturing and scene application.

LONGi takes "create the world's most valuable solar technology company" as its vision , and practices its mission of "make good use of the sun's light and creating a green energy world". Positioning in the "sustainable solar technology", LONGi has been committed to create a brand image of "robust and reliable, technology-led", and shows robust development ability, sustainable financing ability, profitability of leading industry and cost control ability. In 2012-2019, LONGi invested 5.288 billion yuan in R & D, which is the most invested enterprise in photovoltaic industry. LONGi is the standard setter of global universal silicon wafer size specification, leading the whole industry into a "Diamond Wire Slicing Era”. At the single crystal cell conversion efficiency it also broke the world record many times, and continues to take the lead. Furthermore, LONGi has made the LIR (light induced regeneration) single crystal low attenuation technology available to the world free of charge, driving the continuous progress of the whole photovoltaic industry.

LONGi focus on technological innovation

In pursuit of technological progress, LONGi is also constantly pursuing clean manufacturing. Since 2015, LONGi has been a main production base layout in hydropower-rich Yunnan, China and Kuching, Malaysia, using local rich hydropower resources to produce solar photovoltaic products, to achieve the ideal model of a "Clean Energy Porter" and “Producing Clean Energy with Clean Energy”. So far, the three factories in Yunnan and Malaysia have nearly achieved 100% use of renewable energy power for production, and in Wuxi LONGi and Taizhou LONGi Lerrie the solar photovoltaic systems were installed on the roof of the factories to increase the clean proportion of electricity. By February 2020, LONGi had formally joined the RE100 Green Initiative, committing to 100 per cent use of renewable energy by 2028 for electricity needed to produce and operate globally.

LONGi plans to build the first large-scale photovoltaic industry theme park in Xi'an, China, as a comprehensive new headquarters base combining the advanced manufacturing demonstration factory of LONGi with the photovoltaic theme display experience project for education and communication. The park is not only the window of LONGi enterprise's external image display, or benchmark of the photovoltaic industry, but also the exchange platform for the integrated photovoltaic city and human settlement for the world, leading the trend of the integrated development of photovoltaic and zero carbon city and human settlements in China and even the world.

LONGi is also actively exploring BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaic). In 2018 LONGi built a BIPV power station project in the Beijing administrative sub-center. The power station adopts LONGi's high efficiency double-sided glass module, which provides clean and pollution-free green power energy for the administrative center, and will provide an effective solution to the haze weather in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, and explores the way of the healthy and livable zero carbon city and human settlements based on distributed renewable energy.

While focusing on the improvement of urban human settlements, we also apply photovoltaic technology to poverty alleviation and improvement of rural human settlements in Western China. In 2017, LONGi invested more than 40 million yuan to build photovoltaic heating equipment in 544 village clinics in Guyuan City, Ningxia, which greatly improved the medical environment of grass-roots village clinics in poverty-stricken mountainous areas, changed the original coal-fired stove heating into clean and pollution-free solar power heating, provided comfortable indoor temperature and clean environment for villagers to see doctors, reduced the recurrence rate of the disease, and improved the medical environment for decades and generations in Guyuan area.

Roof Power Station of Xi'an International Trade & Logistics Park (ITL)

IV. Photovoltaic energy to help achieve the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals

As a series of development goals that gather global consensus, the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defines the global vision and priorities for 2030 and creates unprecedented opportunities for global sustainable development. Enterprises can not only participate in global governance, but also obtain development opportunities by implementing SDGs.

LONGi responded positively to the SDGs. In September 2019, LONGi signed a commitment to join the UN Global Compact to build partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders, sharing practices and solutions to achieve the SDGs. We combine SDGs with the photovoltaic industry value chain to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions with efficient capacity and production, promote the transformation of the world's energy structure for huge social and environmental benefits, and strive to achieve affordable clean energy on a global scale (SDG7), making photovoltaic power generation the cheapest clean energy in the world, and then let it go into thousands of households to improve the global human settlements.

LONGi staff

V. Conclusion

From the darkness beginning to the bright lights, what has changed was the vicissitudes of life, the unchanged is the sun for the evolution of life and civilization of the earth to provide inexhaustible energy. The rapid development of human science and technology has broken the traditional energy pattern based on resource endowment, and the world has begun to step into the era of technological innovation-oriented energy transformation. Photovoltaic power generation opens the door to the direct use of solar energy. The continuous progress of photovoltaic technology is the maximum thrust of the cost reduction of photovoltaic power generation. In the mean while, energy storage technology progress and cost reduction provide a strong support for "photovoltaic + energy storage" as the cheapest form of energy. As the realization of zero-carbon manufacturing with "Solar-for-Solar" in the whole industry chain, photovoltaic power generation will not only profoundly change the global energy structure, but also make an important contribution to combating climate change and improving human settlements, and create unlimited space for the sustainable development of human society.

Article and photos by Li Zhenguo, Founder and President of LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd.) (2020)

A graduate from Lanzhou University with the major in semiconductor materials, Mr. Li Zhenguo is currently a well-known expert on the monocrystalline technology in transverse magnetic field, and has long been engaged in the production of monocrystalline silicon rods and silicon wafers, and has successfully developed polysilicon silicon carbon separation technology. He founded the LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd (hereafter referred to as "LONGi") in 2000. Its business covers from photovoltaic materials, photovoltaic equipment to solar power plant system, providing a full range of services for photovoltaic power generation industry, and it is one of the world's largest single crystal photovoltaic product manufacturers. The company was listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2012, with a market value of more than 100 billion yuan. At the 24th United Nations Climate Change Conference, LONGi put forward the idea of Solar-for-Solar Negative Carbon Earth, using photovoltaic energy as a powerful weapon to deal with climate change. Mr. Li has won the honour of "2016 Energy Innovation Entrepreneur of China", and was selected by Forbes one of the "2018 Top 50 CEO's of Chinese Listed Company". In 2019 he was granted the "Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award ".