China preparing list of solar projects eligible for government support

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The Chinese government is compiling a list of solar projects across the country that are to be eligible for financing from the China Development Bank (CDB) as part of a fresh round of state support for China’s booming solar PV industry.

Provincial authorities must put forward their recommendations for solar projects to receive financing by April 2, according to a statement posted on China’s website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

To be eligible for financial backing from CDB, solar companies must have either shipped a minimum of 400 MW of solar modules, cells or wafers last year, or 1,500 metric tons of polysilicon, and enjoyed gross margins in excess of 10% for the final quarter of 2013.

Such stipulations mean that some of China’s biggest solar manufacturing companies will benefit, including Trina Solar, Yingli Green Energy, and GCL-Poly. Financing will be steered towards all facets of manufacturing and downstream performance, with the CDB funding research and development programs, technology upgrades, mergers and acquisitions, and even overseas development.

In light of China’s plans to install a further 10-14 GW of solar PV capacity in 2014, this is the first systematic approach by the government to support the expansion of China’s solar sector.

The CDB has ramped up its financial support of solar projects in China since the turn of the year, funding projects for SPI Solar, United Photovoltaics Group and Jinko Solar in recent months.

In January, the MIIT published an earlier ‘cull’ list of 109 favored companies operating in the solar sector. The announcement was intended to reduce oversupply in China’s domestic PV sector and to introduce greater standardization across the industry.