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Übercast: High Technology

Zhengrong Shi

Zhengrong Shi
  • Born: 1963, Yangzhong, Jiangsu, China
  • Education: BSc, Changchun; MSc, Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics; PhD, University of NSW
  • Organisation: Suntech
  • Website: Suntech
  • Image courtesy of: Professor Martin Green

When Zhengrong Shi bounced his plans for establishing a solar cell manufacturing facility in China off his colleagues at the University of New South Wales, the response was lukewarm. But he went ahead anyway.

Within two years, using a combination of existing technology and cheap Chinese labour, he had halved the price per watt of solar panels, and in 2005 his company became the first privately owned Chinese business to list on the New York Stock Exchange – at a valuation of $5.5 billion!

By 2012, Suntech was the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels, with many of its 14,000 employees layering silicon by hand in its four Chinese production facilities.

"The world couldn't afford to wait a hundred years to solve our planet's energy and environmental crisis"

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