Innovation and International Technology Transfer: The Case of the Chinese Photovoltaic

CERN/ParisTech, Center for Economics and Industry / by Arnaud de la Tour, Matthieu Glachant, and Yann Ménière

[Michael Levi’s summary] The ratio of hype-to-facts in discussions about the Chinese clean energy sector is remarkably high. This surprisingly accessible study looks at how the Chinese PV industry has had far more success breaking into the relatively low-tech (and low value-added) parts of the solar value chain than it has in the high-tech parts, and explains how Chinese firms have gotten to where they are today. I take a lot of things away from it. One of them is that the guy who assembles the solar panel may grab the headlines, but he isn’t necessarily the guy making the real money from solar. Some in the United States seem to be a bit too eager to get into the low-value-added (and hence low-wage) parts of the business.


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