Monday, 23 November 2009

China's 09 solar power capacity to double-researcher
Nov 18, 2009

BEIJING, Nov 18 (Reuters) - China's installed solar energy capacity by the end of this year is expected to have more than doubled from a year earlier, a government researcher said on Wednesday, partly helped by state incentives. "New capacity may reach 150 MWs (MW) this year, more than three times the addition in 2008," Wang Sicheng, a senior researcher with Energy Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission, told a solar energy conference. China added around 40 MW of solar energy generation capacity in 2008 and total capacity reached some 140 MW by the end of last year, Wang said.

He said China's solar energy capacity expansion could even accelerate after the government sets benchmark on-grid tariffs for utility-scale solar energy plants and announces a new development target. "Eight projects with capacity of 10 MW each have started construction this year. There are still many out there waiting (for clear policies)." He said there were at least 44 solar energy projects with total capacity of nearly 13 GWs (GW) being planned and contracted by various power firms and developers. "The first phase of these projects would amount to 1.2 GW, already a formidable increase," Wang said.

The National Development and Reform Commission said in August it would set benchmark solar energy feed-in tariffs but it did not specify any timeframe for the announcement of the rates. It was also mulling to sharply raise China's 2020 solar energy capacity target, as part of a larger development plan for renewable energy expected to be unveiled before the year-end. Beijing announced unprecedented subsidy measures for building-mounted solar energy projects in March and for independent and utility-scale solar systems in July.

Last week, the Ministry of Finance announced that it identified 294 solar energy projects with total capacity of 642 MW that would enjoy subsidies of 50% to 70% of their investment cost. These projects, estimated to cost around 20 billion yuan ($2.93 billion) and to be built in two to three years, include 232 solar energy plants sponsored by major industrial and commercial firms, 27 independent solar energy plants in remote regions that have no power supply and 35 utility-scale plants.

China also identified 111 building-mounted solar energy projects with capacity of 91 MW in September that are qualified for another subsidy scheme. Under the plan, building-integrated photovoltaic projects (BIPV) will receive 20 yuan per Watt peak (Wp) of subsidy and building-attached photovoltaic projects (BAPV) get 15 yuan per Wp. ($1=6.826 Yuan)