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Behind solar power's bamboo curtain

This is rather interesting.

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Reader Comments (48)

The Chinese are good at that sort of thing.

May 25, 2015 at 10:40 AM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

Is this the sort of investment that will be used to replace the massive fossil fuel interests in the portfolio of the Guardian and friends?

May 25, 2015 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

The Chinese economy has grown massively, using the best/worst elements of capitalism. It is only natural that fraud has grown too.

How the Chinese deal with the culprits, is for the Chinese.

The west, will probably allow the western co-conspirators to get away with it.

May 25, 2015 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Chinese industry/industry has always been corrupt.

May 25, 2015 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

It would be interesting to find out if the scam started out that way or if it was a result of the non existant solar revolution western governments keep trying to start.

Recently I've been bombarded with green companies, even at the door. Only last week I had to argue with a guy about whether I had cavity wall insulation because he couldn't see the injection holes. He scrolled through insulation, windows, boiler and finally solar panels which was the only option I didn't already have. He didn't understand my refusal was due to ethical reasons. He couldn't grasp the unfairness of subsidies that are paid for by evryone, including those who can't afford their own roof, let alone the solar panels.

So were the Chinese fooled into thinking all that pressure would result in a wave of demand that hasn't materialised? I'm sure that much of the Chinese government installation of renewables is an attempt to get some return for their investment.

May 25, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

TinyCO2 I am sure that these companies did expand rapidly based on assurances, that it was guaranteed growth, and riches.

Very few businesses are ever started, on the assumption that they will be fraudulent from the outset, but those that are, tend to be spectacular in their rise, and fall.

The Chinese have been very quick to supply, what overseas buyers want.

Phil Jones wrote a significant paper, dismissing Urban Heat Island effect, as having any impact on Global Warming. His long lost data was from China, allegedly.

May 25, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I am of a similar disposition to you, golf charlie. I receive regular nuisance phone calls from people trying to sell me solar panels to save Gaia, & they are quite put out when i tell them I am not uinterested in their scam, nor of saving Gaia from a non-existant problem!

May 25, 2015 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Possible explanation - An Anonymous commenter points out that Hanergy has 9 factory sites.
However when John Hempton says he "main factory" I would have thought he knows what he i talking about
The FT article of Jan 29 mentions "nine factories"
\\the FT has uncovered that at Hanergy Group’s nine factories there is “a large gap between the reported revenues up to 2012 and the money the factories spent buying equipment from HTF.” More recent documents were not available. HTF’s Mr Dai said that 2013 and 2014 should show an improvement in sales.
Shipments of Hanergy product have been difficult to track. Speaking to pv magazine late last year, the IHS analyst said that it is “extremely difficult for anyone outside of the company to predict what Hanergy will do next.”//
PVmag 30th Jan, quoting the FT of Jan 29th

Other facts from John Hempton- "some motorbikes parked - which suggest that the plant is not entirely idle. Just almost." - there are least 40 motorbikes in the photo. A factory might have a carpark but Chinese employees are unlikely to have cars.
- "solar cells set up around the plant.. some triangle-patterns." ..Their own solar panels were not pointing at the sun set up for show rather than actual generation

May 25, 2015 at 1:09 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Another legacy of wind and solar in China: China's Baotou Lake

May 25, 2015 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterpkudude99

Or here's a more recent article about Baotou Lake with more pictures of how awful the place is.

May 25, 2015 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterpkudude99

stewgreen, true, emplyees might also arrive by bus. More significant is the single lorry that didn't move during his visit. Of course the long term success of some of the UKs business couldn't be judged by some of the periods in their life time.

May 25, 2015 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Solar power is a subsidy junkies dream come true, the Chinese jumped on the bandwagon and subsidised their factories more than the European and North American factories. The European and NA factories have been going bankrupt and now the Chinese will follow.

May 25, 2015 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Meanwhile today on Facebook a BBC entity is hyping up a magic wind power Bladeless turbines .. without a hint of critical thinking ..rather the thinking seems like "wow a new GREEN ENERGY story, that fits my religion I'd better post link"
- BBC Future is a money making commercial magazine venture used to supplement the licence funding.
- Real story : The business is raising publicity for it's kickstarter funding event June 1st
- My evaluation - if you really have a magic energy solution, there are billions of windfarm subsidies available you'd have power biz investors already signed up you wouldn't need to use Kickstarter
- Context the guys patent was filed Aug 1, 2011, yet he only has one 100W (is it ?) prototype

All hype and low on details ..dingaling !!!
- The BBC brand is supposed to be about integrity, trustworthyness. It's not good enough for BBC Future to just repost a link with a claim like "His mum says he's the most handsome & cleverest boy in the universe".
How can they not seek out any contrary views to see if there are any criticisms ?

- The Lazy BBC Futures guy doesn't even go back to the original article * Why just repost a link with an article based on another article in Wired 2 days earlier earlier articles are dated May 7th
like in Treehugger, where the first comment is "You can count me in as one of those skeptics, because these guys are touting a lot of "amazing" facts that appear to have no basis in reality and other than a wiggling stick of paper Mache and glue, I don't see much proven here."
- By May 21st : Clean Technica says "Reality Check"
- it said a similar design has been tried before in 2010
Where is it now ?
- But May 15th : Kcet said "You Should Probably Be Skeptical About This "

- 2013 an artilcle about the design with the same guy David Yañez when Vortex Bladeless was called Deutecno

May 25, 2015 at 1:52 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@pkudude99 by Bizarre coincidence your 2nd Baotou Lake article is by BBC Future also
so they run both Green Dream and Eco-disaster stories
note the end of that article "This trip was organised and funded by the Unknown Fields Division, a group of architects, academics and designers at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London." that allowed .shouldn't the BBC fund itself ?

May 25, 2015 at 2:01 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@ golf charlie

Please get rid of the commas.

May 25, 2015 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJasper Gee

Jasper Gee

I have always had a high comma footprint. Unlike the Chinese, obviously.

May 25, 2015 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Rest assured?

A bit of background, when they say our banks are safe, you know that they [politicians, economists and the Westminster establishment] are lying through their teeth. Since the 2008 crash - in the banking sector it is all go and more go, with the likelihood of the watered down Vickers reforms being kicked into the long grass by Osborne and his mates who are totally beholded to the big banks and thus British depositors are exposed to the financial shenanigans of international banking sector which is still way out of control.

Just for amusement, I occasionally look in at Blurtberg, see the happy shiny faces earnestly listening and glibly talking to those 'guys in the know' - consultants to computers, the sultans of spin - economists and the artists of the impossible - the banksters and the CEO know nothings, "but hey look at our figures!"

@Bloomberg - they all nod sagely when the talk about China and the HSI as if they understand the system and it's arcane intricacies intimately as a mother does her child and what with all that bloviating, seemingly unable to comprehend the behind the scenes market manipulation Government of the PRC. [and I wonder to myself, I can talk BS - I should be on this show.]

The world's financial system [- "system"? did I say "system"......stop laughing at the back] - if I may call it that, is based on a phantasmagoria of funny money and all that funny money is chasing 'investment opportunities' usually though not exclusively bonds and equities.
But across the western world not content with printing money to keep a ramshackle 'financial system' afloat and we ain't sure how it did or, does [think real estate - property]. The Federal Reserve, the ECB and the BoE have gone mental and with the ECB priming the presses, a torrential bonanza of liquidity sloshes around the 'system', then throw in a computerized network of trading around the world's Bourses and I do laugh when some autocutie comes on and tells us that - "the Footsie is trading 0.67% up this morning" - like wow and gee whizz, hunky dory where are the chappie men? No one knows, except those who can get in at the computerized 'coal face and they have to have inside knowledge but surely I hear you cry - that's illegal?! ....well only if you get caught it is.

But it gets worse, the western political claque with their corporate buddies - are forcing the western taxpayers to pour £$€tillions into a black hole - and possibly the greatest ponzi scheme ever devised the great green scam.........and the PRC saw them coming.

Hanergy - a sobering tale of hype and mega hyping share prices and another front for fraud manufacture - but how many others are there? And with Obama wanting to press the green nuclear button, the immediate prospects for a bit of sanity in the green boondoggle market - all markets for that matter - to say the least, remain rather slim.

And..............forgive me for stating the bleeding obvious:

when 'it', as it inevitably will, whence it all goes tits up - it will be so bad for the likes of me and thee - the proles.

May 25, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

May 25, 2015 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterHoi Polloi

What do you expect, other than a googly from a Chinaman?

May 25, 2015 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Wall Street Journal published a timeline of the company's share price and overlaid it with critical events leading to the price crash. A key indicator was when they sold the corporate jet. For sure that's a sign of trouble. More telling was the fact that they had a corporate jet. History shows having a corporate jet is an indicator of future financial trouble for many companies.

May 25, 2015 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterrms

rms - oh, yes. As astute observers have observed, who is paying for the corporate jet, the marble foyer, the internal fountain, the hookers and the coke? The shareholders, of course.

A peerless writer on these matters, C. Northcote Parkinson, once commented on the inverse relationship between premises and efficacy. Nothing has changed there.

Still, at least the marble is natural, the fountain improves air quality, and both hookers and coke are organically grown.

May 25, 2015 at 5:02 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

rms, corporate jets, purchase and disposal, are a good indicator of a companies value. Traditionally in the UK, building a new HQ office was often the sign of overconfidence and pride, that came before the fall.

Plus of course purchasing the corporate hospitality suites, at '"prestige" sport and entertainment venues.

May 25, 2015 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I'm looking forward to the BBC reporting on this.

They have an expert guy Roger Harrabin I believe who is handsomely paid and keeps track of these things

May 25, 2015 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmerDueToCO2

Crick and Watson did their great work in a hut that later became a bicycle shed. Or so I am assured. A plaque to their efforts was later attached to the nearest respectable building, rather than to the right one.

May 25, 2015 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

I was under the impression from the Tory Manifesto that they were going to stop subsidies for onshore wind within 100 days of getting in to power. I will be interested if they include this in the Queen's Speech on Wednesday - and I'm not holding my breath.

Mind you, since the election result there have been three new planning applications for solar farms in the Salop/Telford area amounting to over 105 acres. And, today E.on have confirmed that Ironbridge B power station will close by 31/12/15 at the latest, despite the vast amount of money that was recently spent converting it to biomass.

May 25, 2015 at 7:48 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

And, today E.on have confirmed that Ironbridge B power station will close by 31/12/15 at the latest, despite the vast amount of money that was recently spent converting it to biomass.

The DECC certainly got their gal and as the country mourns the loss of effective, serviceable generating plant - it's madness in culottes and green's LIGHTS OUT AMB-RRRRRR! In anticipation of a cold winter, I can hardly bloody wait [not].

Blimey, newly installed , should I say that burdensome intrusion - dearest Amber is going for it ain't she? She's only been there for two minutes, and is it a game for her?

The green charade = how to turn green-cr*p into blackouts in just a few months.

Thanks Dave, we love you too.

May 25, 2015 at 8:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

On 21st May, a company statement.

With reference to recent media reports regarding Hanergy Holding Group Limited, our Group hereby makes the following statement:

I. Our Group’s operations are normal in all respects and we maintain a good financial position with no overdue loans. There was no forced liquidation of the Group shares as cited in some media reports as the cause of the price plunge of the shares of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited (HKSE: 00566).

II. To date, our Group and its connected parties hold approximately 30.6 billion shares of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited, and there has been no recent reduction in these stock holdings.

III. Up to now, our Group has never conducted any financial derivative transaction or betting to any institution / individual on the shares of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited.

IV. On 20 May 2015, Hanergy Holding Group Chairman Li Hejun attended the opening ceremony of the Hanergy Renewable Energy Exhibition Center in Beijing. It is the world’s first exhibition center dedicated to renewable energy, with a solar focus. Mr. Li delivered a speech entitled “Change the World with Clean Power.”

V. Our Group has full confidence in the development of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Limited.

Two days later came the subtle but meaningful crash.

May 25, 2015 at 8:47 PM | Registered Commenterperry

Athelstan, 8:39 pm:

There's an additional sting in the tail "But it will also end its life if it passes the milestone of generating power for a total of 20,000 hours since January 1, 2008."

So if we have a cold summer, and electricity demand goes up from consumers using more power to keep warm, it will close early. But,if we have a hot summer, and electricity demand goes up from consumers using more power to keep cool, it will close early. WTF!

May 25, 2015 at 9:13 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian


There is something symbolic about closing a power station named after one of the iconic structures of the Indsutrial Revolution.

A page to keep an eye on:

Already looks as though it will be tight when there is no wind.

May 25, 2015 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Why would anybody be surprised to see an idol factory belonging to a company about to go under ?

That is, shouldn't his piece start with " I am not surprised at the demise Hanenergy given what I saw 6 weeks ago ...... "
Instead his piece insinuates some sort of conspiracy, without any back up. Is the guy meant to be some sort of journalist ?

May 25, 2015 at 10:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss

It doesn't add up ..., 10:28 PM; "There is something symbolic about closing a power station named after one of the iconic structures of the Indsutrial Revolution."

It's not just the name, Ironbridge B is the only remaining industrial site working in the Ironbridge Gorge. When it closes (and it seems to be when rather than if) it will be the death of industrial activity in Ironbridge that dates back to when Abraham Darby effectively started the industrial revolution over 300 years ago.

Yes, Ironbridge is an SSSI and a UNESCO Heritage site, and is a great tourist attraction, but once the power station closes, it is effectively an industrial Disneyland. When Ironbridge A closed, it was pre-emptively demolished before the site could be scheduled, and it appears that English Heritage/ Historic England, or whatever they are now calling themselves, are refusing to schedule Ironbridge B, despite the brick cooling towers being nationally unique.

I suppose the only positive from this sad state of affairs is that there's bugger all chance of any early bird-mashers or bat-fryers getting scheduled status.

May 25, 2015 at 11:34 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Salopian, fried bat, with a rich creamy bird mash, could be a new gourmet attraction for Ironbridge. It could be a fitting place to consume a meal marking the start of the industrial revolution, as well as a symbol, of its end.

May 26, 2015 at 12:00 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


"But,if we have a hot summer, and electricity demand goes up from consumers using more power to keep cool, it will close early. WTF!"

WTF! - indeed. I am sure I don't know but what I do know is, this is ongoing reduction in installed fossil fuel generation capacity will guarantee to cause an outage and crash in the grid system, how bad it will be - who TF knows?

Having just won an election the Tories are going sh&^ and bust for green, plus with the ratchet of George's unilateral marvellous carbon floor price?! YES - BUST - is what Britain will be and coming sooner than, even the wildest desires of the green blob. Old George Moonbat will have his wilderness yet - you can already see it in parts of industrial [as was] the Midlands, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Durham, Northumberland and the Central belt of Scotland.

May 26, 2015 at 12:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

There's some curious stuff going on in China.

Much (most?) of it is known about- esp in Hong Kong - but it goes under the UK MSM radar for the most part - I have to say mostly by design imho. The Chinese have a reputation for inscrutability but as I've mentioned in unthreaded they also have a track record of epic frauds (that would make a Nigerian blush) and wholesale design / IP theft (ask BMW and GM about that!)

The disappearance of those container ships of variable quality tat from British ports would cause serious disruption here - the whole thing is quite a delicately balanced house of cards... and Hanergy does not surprise me at all - there must be much, much more of the same.

As to solar fraud - Obamah and Soylyndra and other stuff is closer to home

May 26, 2015 at 12:23 AM | Registered Commentertomo

stewgreen, love your work on this thread.

Amazing how highly paid journalists all over the world never manage to put together the bits of these jigsaw puzzles. What do they do all day?

May 26, 2015 at 4:58 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna


The British press?

stewgreen, love your work on this thread.

Amazing how highly paid journalists all over the world never manage to put together the bits of these jigsaw puzzles. What do they do all day?


stewgreen said:

"solar cells set up around the plant.. some triangle-patterns." ..Their own solar panels were not pointing at the sun set up for show rather than actual generation

I recalled this:

It is now six months since I reported on what even environmentalists are calling "the biggest environmental scandal in history". Indeed this is a scam so glaringly bizarre that even the UN and the EU have belatedly announced that they are thinking of taking steps to stop it. The essence of the scam is that a handful of Chinese and Indian firms are deliberately producing large quantities of an incredibly powerful "greenhouse gas" which we in the West – including UK taxpayers – then pay them billions of dollars to destroy

Remember that scam?

It really needs to be stopped, if only there was [other than Mark Abbot and Stephen Harper] a leader in the Western world who cared about honesty and telling the truth....

And in their murky and sinister world, after all the name calling under the sun aimed at the Russian President - is it not piquant, that, the tossers who purport to run the west [Barry Obummer, Mutti, Hollande and Camoron] are now soliciting and treating with President Putin - over the imminent collapse of Syria [that they helped cause in the first place]?

For heavens sakes, the British press were regaling Camoron and celebrating his recent win and a majority government - but then, the British press aren't worth spit or, urine.

May 26, 2015 at 7:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

We've been here before. December 2013:

Bankruptcies, overcapacity, idle plants.

May 26, 2015 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

So does this mean that the EU were right about the Chinese dumping below-cost panels on the European market?

May 26, 2015 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG


If my memory serves me well, a Chinaman is the leg break bowler's googly, so called because Freddy Brown, captain of the England cricket team in the Windies was bowled by such a ball, delivered by a West Indian of Chinese origin - Brown stating that he was bowled by 'a bloody Chinaman'.

This has been a Public Service Announcement

May 26, 2015 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Surely a chinaman is a left arm wrist spinner's ball? A right arm leg break bowler's googly is the googly.

May 26, 2015 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

dearieme is correct. In both cases they're a wrong'un, as is this company.

May 26, 2015 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

This is similar to some f the corrupin associated with the 1993 steel bubble in China.
I was settling a claim involving a shipping delay from the Black Sea. The delay meant on of the cosignees did not receive their steel on time.
It turned out they wee actually in the business of playing the Chinese real estate market, not the busines of shaping steel at their Macau factory. Upon my inspection it turns out the "factory" was an unfinished large warehouse incapable of properly storing steel on its mud floor, and the lack of overhead crane made handling steel impossible any way.
It was a scam, in other words.
I was gald to have gotten back to HK safely after this excitement.
Solar sounds tenX worse.

May 26, 2015 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunterter


A chinaman is the left arm wrist spinner's equivalent of a googly - stock ball off to leg to a right handed batsman, chinaman leg to off. A rare treat.

May 27, 2015 at 9:26 AM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

Nah, it's not quite that simple, flax doctor. When someone says that a left arm wrist spinner bowls "chinamen and googlies", he means the chinaman is the stock ball, but the googly is the wrong 'un. There he, you, and I agree.

Some people, however, muddy the waters by calling that wrong 'un the chinaman, though what they then call his stock ball I don't know. Some people, eh?

My own proposition is that the chinaman bowler's wrong 'un be called the Wong 'un, but I suspect the PC lobby would object to such gentle humour.

May 27, 2015 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

The bowler was Ellis Achong I think. Nickname: "Pup".

May 28, 2015 at 6:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterBill

Ooh, more complicated than I thought! Apparently Achong was an orthodox slow left armer with a wrist-spun wrong'un - not that subtle from a bowling action point of view - but from my own experience of delivering the odd one or two, a quicker one of these pitched a foot outside off might also be called a box cutter :-)

May 28, 2015 at 8:46 AM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

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