Q-Cells started trading in 1999 and began by producing silicon solar cells in 2001 with only 19 employees. Production grew 60-fold in 6 years to more than 500 MegaWatt, leading to sales revenues of 1.25 billion euros last year. The company now employs 90 times more personnel and production is expected to grow to 800 MegaWatt in 2009, then to 1300 MegaWatt next year, depending on market demand dynamics.
Dr Shi is one of China's wealthiest men and still a major shareholder in New York Stock Exchange-listed Suntech Power. Formerly a leading cell researcher at the University of New South Wales in Australia, Shi returned to China and founded Suntech Power in September 2001. Production capacity grew 100-fold in 7 years and reached a cell and module production capacity of 1000 MegaWatt last year. The company's net revenues approached the 2 billion dollar mark and, based on the stock price, is currently valued at around 2.3 billion dollars.
"As in the ICT business, both Q-Cells and Suntech Power have proved that the solar energy future will be created by new entrepeneurs and not by the existing energy and oil giants like Shell or Exxon. IBM never believed in the PC and almost collapsed when entrepreneurs like Bill Gates created a new world," says Edwin Koot, CEO of Solarplaza, organizers of The Solar Future conference. "We are in a dynamic market phase and nearing the start of the solar revolution. Dr Milner and Dr Shi are the business leaders who will shape the solar future in these hectic times."
More information about the conference can be found at: www.thesolarfuture.com