Global trade in renewable energy products is rising dramatically, supported by a large number of mainland suppliers, according to internet giant Alibaba.com. The world's leading business-to-business e-commerce company, part of Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group, said online searches for alternative power resources, including solar and wind energy solutions, had grown steadily in the past two years in developed economies and other markets where government initiatives promote use of these systems. 'Despite the economic downturn, online trade in environmentallyfriendly products is holding up well,' said David Wei Zhe, the chief executive of Hong Kong-listed Alibaba.com. 'This is because going green not only saves money. It also creates money, as more entrepreneurs develop innovative products to support growing global demand.' Data from Alibaba.com, which has 38.1 million registered users worldwide, shows that more than 1,000 mainland-based providers of solar-energy products have online store fronts in its e-commerce platform. Products being sold include solar cells, water heaters, batteries, chargers, lamps and street lights. In the third quarter of last year, when oil prices peaked at a record US$147.27 per barrel, online searches for renewable-energy products, mostly those using solar power, rose 67 per cent from the same period in 2007, when oil prices were at US$77 per barrel, Alibaba.com said. In the first quarter of this year, searches for solar-powered energy products grew 71 per cent year on year. It is expected that interest for these products would further increase in the second quarter, when Earth Day is observed worldwide. The event is held every April 22 to show environmental awareness. Mr Wei noted that while consumers recognised the 'feel-good' impact and cost-saving benefit of adopting more ecologically friendly power sources, green technology had also progressively become affordable and accepted by the business sector. 'Climate change is having a positive impact on our business. Solar lighting products are our most popular selling items,' said Xiao Benpeng, the international trade manager for Huangshi Donper Mech-Electric Group Solar Energy, a Hubei firm specialising in solar energy products and an Alibaba.com member. 'Our sales have been growing by 30 to 40 per cent over the past three years thanks to strong demand for green products from customers in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.' Alibaba.com also counts a number of member-solar energy product suppliers from the US and India. Mr Wei said about US$30 billion of China's stimulus package would go to energy conservation and much of the business would be transacted on e-commerce.