Late December in Shanghai, Liu Chang, the founder of local Chinese solar media outlet Solarzoom announced that a new trading platform for solar projects was coming online to connect high quality distributed PV assets with potential investors.
The announcement came at a one day forum discussing several key PV topics including China’s latest solar energy policy, national grid rules and regulations for distributed PV plants, capitalization and securitization of distributed PV assets, and how this trading platform will work and benefits market players.
More than 200 people participated at the forum. Most of them hailing from PV industry and comprising EPCs, contractors, and module manufacturers, while others were drawn from the financial sector.
Ma Yiwei, vice president of Solarzoom, remarked that the trading platform intends to integrate distributed PV project with final investors, drawing funds from financial markets. “There is plenty of funds in financial markets that are longing for profitable high quality assets,” said Yiwei. “The problem is they don’t know how to identify these high quality PV assets and also they don’t trust their self-introduction.
“This is what we Solarzoom can do, and where our value lies. Because of our neutral stance and expertise, we can organize the independent evaluation together with inspection institutes such as TUV SUD for particular PV projects and, based on that evaluation, financial markets can precisely assess the projects across many aspects, including ROI, IRR, ABS and project insurance.
“When the path to financial markets is cleared, distributed PV will be enjoy capital and grow much faster.”
To demonstrate the efficacy of this business model, both Yiwei and a senior executive from the security branch of China Merchants Bank group introduced a pilot project jointly with Hong Kong-listed company Wangwang Group, which planned for 53 sub-projects totaling more than 100 MW of rooftop distributed PV plants. China Merchants Security has assumed the role of financier and will gain stable margin from these projects.
Liu and his team strongly believe that the key factor that will determine whether the distributed PV market grows smoothly lies with PV convincing investors that it is long-term, profitable investment. Considering the recently released blueprints for clean energy by China’s NEA, distributed PV will likely grow as a major market, and this platform could soon be playing a pivotal role.