While the world’s biggest solar manufacturers are confident there are plenty of alternative markets for a rising volume of panel exports, the message spelled out by first-quarter shipment figures is that protectionism works.
The solar manufacturer has revealed plans to invest around $875 million in production capacity for monocrystalline ingots, wafers and cells – and expects to raise a chunk of the cost with a shares issue this week.
Projects not encompassed by the new, central-subsidy-free, ‘grid-parity’ regime will be eligible to bid for a government subsidy. But, at a reported $446 million, the pot is not very big.
The capital city of pollution-blighted Zhejiang province has announced an ambitious clean air policy in the wake of Beijing’s call for local governments, big lenders and power companies to pull out the stops to restart the solar revolution.
Sources have told pv magazine the authorities are ready to restart the nation’s residential rooftop segment and have also agreed upon subsidy payments for other distributed generation and utility-scale projects.
Central subsidies may have been cut back but the domestic market rebounded quickly and overseas shipments soared on the back of rising production volumes and ever cheaper module prices.
Beijing has outlined a series of policies mandating local and provincial authorities, state-owned banks and grid operators to pull out the stops to drive the rapid escalation of subsidy-free PV projects. The announcement has seen Chinese solar stocks on the rise.
While recent signs from the Chinese administration, including the National Energy Administration, are that the PV sector in the country will return to robust health, the contagion of the 31/5 policies is still being felt throughout the supply chain. Vincent Shaw in Shanghai investigates the symptoms and causes of Chinese solar’s ill health.
Curtailment issues will prompt Chinese government to focus on new project development in the urban east, to reduce power losses. The central authorities also want to ramp up the electricity trading market and peak shaving technology.
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