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China Will Have Solar Feed-in Tariff in Place in 2009 - Suntech

The Chinese government is readying a feed-in tariff (FIT) for utility-scale solar plants that will dwarf the country's previous solar subsidies, and drive a wave of investment into the sector, according to Suntech.

The FIT will likely fall between 1.09 yuan and 1.5 yuan (US $0.16-0.22) per kWh of electricity produced at large-scale photovoltaic (PV) arrays, and will be in place by the end of the year, predicts Suntech chairman Zhengrong Shi.

Comparing the likely shape of the FIT to China's existing roof-top subsidy and 'Golden Sun' programme, which focuses on remote off-grid installations, Shi says: "This new type of solar policy will drive much faster growth in the Chinese solar market."

Along with a bevy of competitors, Suntech, the world's largest maker of crystalline solar modules, is scrambling to put the right pieces in place to take advantage of the FIT if and when it comes.

Chief executive Shi says that even China's existing solar subsidies — the rooftop scheme, the Golden Sun programme, and another announced earlier this year that will see a suite of large-scale arrays erected in Jiangsu province — are causing a buzz within the Chinese solar industry.

"While we're still awaiting clarification on some of the policy details, these programmes are generating a significant amount of interest in the domestic Chinese solar market, and have the potential to drive the market up by at least 100 MW to 200 MW per year," he says.

This article was reprinted with permission from Power Engineering as part of the PennWell Corporation Renewable Energy World Network and may not be reproduced without express written permission from the publisher.

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