The 5MW variable speed series is designed for onshore, offshore and inter-tidal wind farms. It represents one of the opening moves in a push by Chinese manufacturers to build larger-capacity machines.
The final assembly project for 5MW turbines was started in July this year at Sinovel's Jiuquan facility, in the northwest Gansu province, with an investment of CHY280 million. The company is also hoping to produce its first 6MW turbine in the first half of next year.
Alongside the swift expansion of China's wind power industry, notably the first round of public tenders for offshore projects this year, wind turbines are being produced at increasingly bigger capacities.
Tao Gang, vice-president of Sinovel, says offshore wind power projects will become a priority for the company. It hopes its offshore business will more than double over the next five years.
In 2008, Sinovel supplied 34 3MW offshore wind turbines to China's first pilot offshore project in east China's Shanghai, which was fully integrated to the grid in July this year. The company also won contracts for two 300MW offshore wind power projects, in east China's Binhai and Sheyang, in the tender for offshore wind power concession projects, announced on September 10.
Tao says Sinovel expects to boost the company's turbine sales by 30 per cent annually from 2011 to 2015 and eventually export 50 per cent of its turbines to the world market. "But we are under heavy pressure to achieve the objective, as the overseas market has quite different market rules, laws and regulations from the Chinese market," Tao adds.
Tao says Sinovel is set to establish divisions in Europe, the US, South America, Australia and Canada.
Officials from China's Ministry of Science and Technology recently said that the country would make an effort to support the development of 3MW to 5MW wind turbines and key components for 5MW to 10MW offshore turbines from 2011 to 2015.
However, some industry officials doubt the wisdom of this strategy, saying China's land-based wind power resources are distributed in areas of differing conditions. They believe large-capacity wind turbines are not necessarily right for all regions, bearing in mind the varying operation and maintenance needs.