China Announces Enlargement of Domestic Solar Program

China Makes Solar News at Climate Talks

Right after I posted the preceding blog about the difficulties in forecasting the global PV industry, China announced a large solar deployment plan at the COP 16 climate talks in Cancun, Mexico. While not on the scale of Germany over the last five years, this latest announcement from China will clearly have a positive impact on the supply demand situation if in fact Beijing follows though and is not just hand waving.

The December 3rd announcement outlines China’s plan to install a minimum of 1,000 megawatts (MW) of solar energy capacity per year starting in 2013.  For comparison, one average coal burning plant has about 500MW capacity.

The announcement went on to describe 13 industry zones and that Beijing will pay up to half the price of equipment for solar PV projects. In addition, a subsidy of 4 to 6 yuan (60 to 90 U.S. cents) per watt of generating capacity will be rewarded to project owners.

As I noted in my 10/15/10 blog piece, this will almost certainly increase WTO violation allegations from the U.S. government and others.  But it will be a very long time before a WTO court can rule on these assertions.  Meanwhile, our U.S. government continues to dither on long-term PV manufacturing and project support while we concede further clean tech competitiveness and leadership.

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