On 22nd October, DEK Solar welcomed a delegation of the UK’s All Party Parliamentary China Group (APPCG) to its new state-of-the-art Suzhou Technology Center. Led by the APPCG Chairman, Richard Graham MP, members of all main parties from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords spent the morning with the DEK Solar team as part of a broader fact-finding visit to China.
Established in 1997, the APPCG is focused on issues of importance to the UK and China and aims to contribute to the bilateral relationship between the two nations. DEK has been an active participant in numerous APPCG initiatives and was delighted to host the delegation, along with industry partners Yingli Group and Sunergy, at its Suzhou Technology Center.
Recently retired DEK Chairman, John Knowles, gave the APPCG delegation an overview of DEK’s business, explaining that since the company’s inception, over 80% of its Weymouth, UK-based production was exported until it established its manufacturing facility in Shenzhen over 10 years ago. DEK’s manufacturing plant in China, however, was certainly not its first endeavor in the region and, in fact, the company has had a local presence since the late 1970’s. Most recently, DEK opened it Suzhou Technology Center where the company is focused on developing technologies for improved solar cell efficiencies and lowering overall manufacturing costs.
“DEK’s Suzhou Technology Center is a strong example of an exporting UK SME that goes the extra mile to reach new markets and service clients in new ways,” commented Richard Graham MP, who is also Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Asia.
Following a solar market presentation from DEK Solar Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Xiao Chen, there was a lively discussion among attendees regarding the recent EU threats to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and the effect of Feed-in-Tariffs (FITs) in Europe and the UK. The potential unintended consequences of tariff modifications and FITs without appropriate notification for western equipment manufacturers like DEK Solar were of great concern to MPs and peers alike.
Contributing to this discussion were representatives from Yingli and Sunergy, both leading suppliers of solar panels, who provided perspective on the current size of the solar market, each company’s position in the sector and the future outlook. Following these presentations, Yingli’s Ms. Linda Yuan and Mr. Qiu Kai Kun from Sunergy shared manufacturers’ perspective on exporting experiences to Europe and, more recently, to emerging markets in Africa and South America.
Concluding the event, Lord Clement-Jones from the APPCG delegation thanked DEK for hosting such an informative visit and congratulated the company on its achievements. “The long and successful history of trade in China that the company has enjoyed was no doubt a result of the entrepreneurial and pioneering work during the 1970’s and 1980’s,” he said. “The significant investment DEK has made in this impressive Suzhou facility during a time of economic uncertainty shows that the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of DEK lives on.”
For more information, visit DEK Solar at www.deksolar.com.