Build first, worry about quotas later, says China

The Chinese government’s headlong rush to drive distributed generation (DG) across the world’s biggest solar market saw another policy development yesterday, according to an announcement by Jiaxing-based wafer manufacturer Renesola.

The Chinese manufacturer says the government’s National Energy Administration (NEA) has accelerated plans for distributed generation pilot areas across the nation.

The NEA allocated some pilot areas last year but there has been little enthusiasm for small-scale solar with developers citing difficulty accessing finance and obtaining comparable energy prices and support to ground-mount projects.

Those difficulties prompted the authorities to announce fresh DG policies last week, ensuring access to local ground-mount energy prices, whilst leaning on big state-owned banks to facilitate lending to small-scale, sub-20 MW schemes.

Rush for DG

The push for DG comes in the wake of reports China had installed only 188 MW of its stated 8GW generation target for 2014, by mid-May.

The determination of the authorities to make up ground on that target saw the NEA announce, according to Renesola, new plans for pilot areas with developers encouraged to start building immediately and apply for quotas later.

The Renesola press release, which states: "Projects that do not receive enough quotas will be allocated more," said pilot areas had to be started by the end of the month to qualify for support and must have at least 20 MW installed by the end of the year at which point: "pilot areas that do not meet this requirement by then will be cancelled."

Renesola last week speculated an anticipated glut of DG projects from next month onwards, combined with a current shortage of panels, would be likely to drive up prices, to the benefit of Chinese manufacturers including, of course, Renesola.