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China Dims 'Golden Sun' Solar Subsidy

China, the target of criticism and legal action from those who contend it unfairly subsidizes its export market, is now cutting support for some of its own solar generation.

The reason? China is saying that prices are falling at such a rate that solar projects no longer need the level of subsidy that was originally set. Bloomberg reported Thursday that China will cut the subsidies it set in February for its Golden Sun program from 7 yuan ($1.11) per watt generated to 5.5 yuan ($0.87) per watt. The program, in place since 2009, covers grid-connected rooftop, building integrated and ground-mounted systems. The 21 percent drop, according to the report, is only for developers who generate the power for their own use.

Governments in Germany, the U.K. and Italy have scaled back significantly on solar subsidies, often citing the decreased cost of panels coming in from the China market. Those countries, however, are also facing serious internal political opposition stemming from the European debt crisis. The move by China appears to have been made solely on its economic considerations.

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