The German energy management manufacturer Solare Datensysteme (SDS) is a welcomed partner all over the world – in China as well. SDS, the expert for PV monitoring and management systems, has had an office in China since 2016. With a population of about 1.37 billion and rapid economic growth, China is not only the world’s largest exporter of PV modules, but also a very important market. For years to come, China will likely have the greatest growth rates for PV energy. SDS has a cooperation with the Rhea Education organization as one way to help actively shape the energy revolution.

Rhea Education develops a training program for the cooperation of Chinese companies with vocational schools. 8,300 schools with about 15 million students take part in the program. Their goal is to train specialists for the PV industry. Rhea Education organizes national competitions to promote its training program. In these competitions, students can put their knowledge to the test and learn from each other.

The support and training of specialists is an important step for SDS to establish itself in the Chinese PV market. “It is essential that there are well-trained experts who have mastered all aspects of PV technology. This is the only way to ensure that PV energy quickly becomes an integral part of energy production in China,” said Steve Cheung, General Manager of Solar-Log™ China.
We asked Rhea Eduction a few questions to get more detailed insights into the Chinese PV market:


What is the main focus of Rhea Energy/Rhea Education?

Rhea Education: As an integrated solution provider for renewable energy education, Rhea Education is committed to strong cooperation between companies and educational institutions, such as universities and vocational schools, throughout the country. The Rhea training program focuses on supporting first class energy talent who will then promote and help shape regional economic development, industrial restructuring and energy technology innovations in the future. The Rhea Education system supports national universities and vocational schools in seven areas: PV consultancy, PV system solutions, teacher training programs, industrial studies and cooperative research projects, funding programs, solar online learning (SOL) platform and green campus solutions. The courses, which are specially tailored to the needs of the companies, are intended to counter the increasing shortage of skilled workers in the PV industry.


Why did Rhea decided to work with the German company Solare Datensysteme GmbH (SDS)?

Rhea Education: Chinese industry is still in the very early stages in regard to PV monitoring and management. A professional partner is important in order to tap the full potential of PV monitoring and to advance it. We found a strong and highly experienced partner in SDS. We benefit in many ways from the global player with over 280,000 monitored PV plants and with over 10 years of global experience. We are working together to define technical PV monitoring standards and to improve the return on investment of PV plants with the goal of establishing professional PV monitoring and increasing the plant quality.


What is the current status of the energy revolution in China and what potential do you see in it?

Rhea Education: Due to rapid economic development, China is far above the global average when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions and power consumption. The problem with this has been acknowledged and China has every intention to solve these complex energy and environmental issues as quickly as possible. Developing renewable energies is one way of achieving China’s efforts towards sustainable energy development and environmental improvements. With technological advancements and large-scale application, the cost for producing power from photovoltaic decreases and the competition increases.

It is very likely that photovoltaic power production will gradually evolve from a complementary energy source to an alternative source, and hopefully become the dominant power source of the future.

The unbelievable potential of decentralized photovoltaic power production in China, for example, points in this direction. In general, there is at least enough potential area to develop two billion kilowatts. Most of this potential area is from rooftop solutions. An estimated 300 million families with five kilowatts of power production each could generate a total of 1.5 billion kilowatts of solar power. In addition, the roofs of tens of thousands of schools, restaurants, hotels and several billion square meters of industrial facilities and warehouses are ideal for PV power production.


How does Rhea rate the Chinese PV market with regard to the ongoing boom and training?

The fact that decentralized energy conversion has been a global trend in recent years can be seen in Denmark and Germany. The Danish produce almost all of their power from decentralized energy sources and Germans produce over 50% of their power from decentralized energy sources. In 2015, the G7 leaders proposed replacing fossil fuels with renewable energies by the end of the 21st century, allowing a long enough transition for the development of renewable energies such as photovoltaic power production. By comparison, the share of decentralized energy in China is still low and has not yet realized its full potential. In order to make use of the full performance potential, continuous efforts are required in all areas that we actively promote with our Rhea Education programs.

One important area in this regard is having highly qualified specialists. The aim is to train skilled workers and to provide additional training for existing experts since the emerging energy industry and its technologies are continuing to develop very rapidly. For example, the traditional course contents at universities and vocational schools have to be improved and continuously updated.
University graduates need special additional training courses in the area of renewable energy after they start working at companies. This additional training places a burden on companies, for example, with increased personal costs. It is our educational mandate to solve this problem and to support the talent for China’s energy industry accordingly.


How important was the second national vocational school competition that was held in Changchun for Rhea?

Rhea Education: The goal of the national competition “Design and Implementation of PV Electronics 2018” for vocational schools is to promote vocational training in the fields of photovoltaic technology, electrical engineering and information technology as well as intelligent micro-network technologies in China.
The competition is part of the project “Made in China 2025.” The term “Made in China 2025” refers to a set of measures as a reaction to new technological developments and worldwide industrial restructuring. The development and establishment of the PV industry is being advanced with a new educational environment for top quality training of high-tech talent.
In the competition, the participants showed a high degree of competence and professionalism. At the same time, the participation of teams from all over the country gave us the opportunity to learn from their different experiences and to adapt to world-class standards. Testing the comprehensive skills of the participants is a useful way to promote specialized talents with a varied and broad vision.