China caps 2014 solar subsidies at 14 GW

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Energy regulators in China, the world’s largest solar market, have set a 14 GW limit on solar power installations that will be eligible for subsidies in 2014. Any capacity added that exceeds the national limit – or a regional limit set at state and province level – will not be eligible for the subsidies.

Various quotas are to be introduced for each of China’s provinces, based on local demand and capacity, as well as the grid’s ability to handle any additional capacity added. The National Energy Administration (NEA) of China has confirmed that any project that exceeds its region’s set quota will not be eligble for any national subsidy.

Three provinces in the east of China will be eligible for the highest individual quotas of 1.2 GW each. These provinces are Jiangsu, Shandong and Zhejiang. The NEA has confirmed that those provinces unable to absorb the additional solar power generated – particularly those regions that boast the highest amount of capacity installed (such as Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang) – are likely to have their quotas reduced and the spare capacity added elsewhere.

China’s solar performance over the past 18 months has been impressive. Having installed just 3.6 GW of solar in 2012, last year the country shot to the top of the international charts by increasing its PV capacity by 12 GW. This year, various sources predict that China will install 14 GW – a figure that matches the government’s own subsidy eligibility level.