China to bolster PV industry

China has promised to further support its troubled solar energy sector as the government as the industry struggles with falling prices and a capacity glut.

Citing a statement by the State Council, China’s cabinet, Reuters reported on Saturday that the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology was taking measures to "promote the healthy development of the photovoltaic industry."

The State Council said the ministry was implementing a government directive approved in July that aimed to more than quadruple solar power capacity to 35 GW by 2015 in an effort to ease the overcapacity that continues to debilitate the domestic solar energy industry. The July directive also called for greater consolidation in the industry, new guidelines for mergers and acquisitions and the promotion of standardization.

The ministry is said to be pushing for more technological innovation, specifically in the area of decentralized, off-grid solar power installations, according to Reuters. The ministry is also supporting research and development in battery and storage technology.

Improved standardization has been a key issue for the ministry, which sees it as vital for successful competition in the industry.

China’s solar industry experienced a recovery 2013, the State Council said, adding that total installed solar power capacity increased by around 8 GW, 6 GW of which generated by power plants and 2 GW by decentralized installations, according to preliminary estimates from the China Photovoltaic Industry Alliance.

In line with its push for greater standardization and efforts to rein in further PV production capacity in the country in order to reduce oversupply, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology published an updated list of 109 PV manufacturers that comply with manufacturing guidelines, including environmental conditions at factory sites, the amount of cells used in panels and minimum production capacity for polysilicon, ingot and wafer manufacturers.