The most populous country in the world, China, is now the leader in both investment and implementation of green technology. China is seeking to find ways to provide power to its massive population and growing industrial sector without repeating ecological disasters of the past, which has led to its interest in environmentally-friendly power.
In the past year, China has spent about $11.4 billion on equipment such as solar panels and wind turbines, a 72 percent growth from 2008. In comparison, the United States, the second largest green-technology investor, has only spent about $4.9 billion.
Not all of this equipment is actually manufactured in China. The U.S. remains a major player in green technology, since many of the techniques and equipment was developed and is made here. Many American businesses view China as a large market for their products, but some industry leaders have noted that many companies are relocating overseas, since the American market for solar and other clean energy systems has remained rather small. The American government has not set clear goals for capping carbon output or use of renewable energy sources, but China is planning to invest $700 billion over the next ten years in such technologies.
Additionally, China, as well as many European nations, have provided incentives for manufacturing clean technology such as solar panels, encouraging internal growth of the industry. These types of incentives have yet to catch on in the United States, in part because the U.S. does not have the same degree of pollution problems that China does. Another factor is that most of China’s utilities and energy industry is state-owned, making it easier for the government to require that all renewable energy be purchased by utility companies. In the past year, China has invested a total of $34 billion on renewable energy, and will certainly be the country for solar panel manufacturers and clean energy innovators alike to market their product.