China tenders more utility-scale solar power projects

The 280-megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic power projects, including 60 MW in Xinjiang, Gansu and Inner Mongolia respectively, 50 MW in Qinghai, 30 MW in Ningxia and 20 MW in Shaanxi province, was split between 13 projects, according to the National Energy Administration.

The government would announce the tender results on August 10, the administration said in a notice.

A consortium led by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp won the country’s first open tender for a 10 MW solar power project in Dunhuang in Gansu last year by proposing and accepting an on-grid power tariff of 1.09 yuan per kilowatt hour, which some industry officials deemed as low due to over-competition.

In April this year, continues Reuters, China set the on-grid tariff for four new utility-level photovoltaic power stations in Ningxia region at 1.15 yuan per kilowatt hour (kWh), sharply lower than 4 yuan/kWh that had Beijing approved for two projects in 2008.

The National Development and Reform Commission, in charge of economic planning and pricing policies, said in August last year that it was considering setting benchmark grid feed-in tariffs for utility-scale solar power projects. It did not specify a timeframe for the announcement of the rates that analysts said would be essential for developers to factor income into investment decisions and operational plans.

Some analysts said the government may try to define more appropriate solar power prices by tendering more projects before announcing nationwide on-grid solar power prices, as it did for the wind power sector.

The news report concluded by saying that China would also start its first open tender for solar thermal power generation projects late this month or early in July, state media reported.