China unveils electricity trading pilot scheme

The trading platform — which will allow owners of DG solar and wind projects to sell electricity directly to consumers — will be ready by the end of December, according to a statement by the NEA. The program will be evaluated by the end of June 2018. 

In an emailed statement, Chinese Tier-1 solar manufacturer JinkoSolar said that the announcement underscored Beijing’s commitment to wholesale DG market reform. It praised the government’s determination to facilitate the open trade of electricity generated by renewable sources.

“Direct trading will mean less dependency on subsidies for PV, as PV would compete head-to-head with coal-fired power plants,” the company said. “Manufacturers will thus have no choice but to accelerate the decrease in cost of production. For JinkoSolar, we believe the best technology in this cost conscious environment is half-cell technology.”

The pilot program sets the stage for the development of a direct trading system, under which major power consumers such as offices, businesses and factories would be able to purchase electricity from generators, either bilaterally or via centralized auction mechanisms. For the pilot period, the authorities in six undisclosed provinces will set their own wheeling charges, the NEA said. Participating projects will have to meet specific grid-connection requirements. The NEA also indicated that additional DG capacity — China’s definition of DG solar is particularly broad, including ground-mount PV projects up to 20 MW in size —  would be built in the participating regions.