Solar energy is becoming big business in the United States, but over in China its an even more massive industry with a multitude of players. Solar power is reaching such a saturation point in fact, that thin-film solar producer Hanergy has just opened 60 retail stores across China selling not just PV roof systems, but smaller solar panels for camping or personal use as well.
These stores and “user experience centers” aim to introduce the power and potential of photovoltaic solar panels to a new generation of consumers. By the end of 2015 though, it plans to have 300 such stores in China, and by 2017 Hanery hopes to have a total of 1,500 retail centers all across the world.
The hands-on retail centers will be supported by a new store, hanergyshop.com, giving it a one-two consumer punch. The thin-film solar producer has seen its value grow tremendously with high-profile deals, such as selling solar panels at 18 IKEA stores in the U.K. and teaming up with Tesla to provide solar panels for its Superchargers. There’s even talk of building solar-powered electric cars bearing the Hanergy badge.
However, there are also questions about Hanergy’s soaring stocking prices, with its stock value doubling to $36 billion in the past two months alone. This influx of cash may be the grease behind Hanergy’s rapid expansion, but doubts about its long-term viability remain. Can Hanergy make its way to America with its unique solar stores, or will the house of cards come crumbling down long before?