The big news over the last couple of days has been First Solar's Inner Mongolia solar project. On Tuesday, the company said it has received initial approval from the Chinese government to build what may become the largest solar field in the world. First Solar, which makes more solar cells than any other company, said it struck a tentative 10-year deal to build in China's vast desert north of the Great Wall. The project would eventually blanket 25 square miles (64 sq. kilometers) of Inner Mongolia -- slightly larger than the size of Manhattan -- with a sea of black, light-absorbing glass.
First Solar CEO Mike Ahearn told The Associated Press before the announcement. "The Chinese government is further along in its thinking about solar than we've imagined." I have heard this sentiment over the last month or so. During a recent Carnegie Council panel on US-China cooperation in Climate Control, a China energy policy scholar who has recently been interviewing top Beijing officials said that China's internal clean energy goals are more aggressive than they are announcing.
Based on the recent solar activity, I believe that China is determined to be the world's clean energy leader.