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Asia Report: US Accused of Killing India's Solar Energy Industry

The United States is killing India's domestic solar industry, according to some industry analysts. New Dehli's Center for Science and Environment (CSE) released a report Friday stating that the U.S. Export-Import Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corp. is using a $30-billion fund, fast start financing, set up by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change intended to help developing countries overcome climate change difficulties.

India’s national solar mission specifically states that crystalline photovoltaic projects must use India-manufactured products, while thin-film projects can use parts from other regions. The Ex-Im bank is taking advantage of this rule by offering low-interest loans to Indian solar project developers that use U.S.-manufactured solar cells and panels, according to CSE.

“The major beneficiaries in this case have been American producers such as First Solar and the now bankrupt Abound Solar,” according to the CSE report. India’s domestic solar industry is now in a dangerous state, says the report, with 30 percent facing closure due to low demand.

“The U.S. is engaging in a similar practice [as China had] in India by subsidizing loans for buying American equipment,"  said Kushal Yadav, head of CSE's Renewable Energy team to UPI.com.

IN THE NEWS

Japan’s IHI Corp. Plans To Convert Calif. Coal Plants to Biomass: Bringing Japan’s renewable enthusiasm to the U.S., IHI Corp., a heavy machinery manufacturer, bought up to 50 percent shares in five California power plants from Exelon Corp., two of which are coal-fired and three are biomass plants. The company expects to convert the two 33-MW coal-fired plants to biomass plants.

China’s Grid-linked Wind-power Capacity Up 87%: China is on track to meet its lofty renewable goal of 15 percent by 2020 as it increased its on-grid wind capacity 87 percent this year. China imposed strict rules for new distributed wind generation earlier this year, requiring projects to connect to its grid systems. It expects its grid-connected capacity to rise to 100 GW by 2015 and 200 GW by 2020.

Trina Solar Sees Lower Margins, Shipments: Feeling the sting of falling demands in Europe and recent trade rulings in the U.S. and E.U., China-based Trina Solar saw margins “far below expectations” in the third quarter. Trina reported its fourth straight quarterly loss and said it expects its margins to continue to shrink in tandem with falling prices. Trina also cut its expected shipments to 1.75-1.80 GW from 2.0-2.1 GW in response to decreasing demand.

India Boosts Solar Subsidies for Residential Solar: In the wake of its record-breaking blackout, the Odisha Renewable Development Agency (OREDA) introduced a subsidy for residential solar installations in India. OREDA is encouraging solar adoption to decrease the devastating impact of India’s blackouts. According to its deputy director, a 1-kW system is Rs. 2.5 lakh (US$4,500), and costs the consumer Rs 1.7 lakh (US$3,000) after the Rs 80,000 ($US1,400) subsidy.

China Hydropower Company Sees Record Results: China Hydroelectric Corporation, which owns, develops, and operates small hydropower projects, announced a record 72% increases year over year for its second quarter. The company said its success is due to favorable precipitation, higher tariffs for many of its projects in the second quarter, and an improved lending market.

ON THE HORIZON

Japanese Solar Outlook Looks Bright but Wind May Not Fly: Japan has set high goals for renewable energy, aiming for 35 percent by 2030 in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. It recently implemented aggressive feed-in tariffs to achieve its goal, sparking new renewable energy projects. But due to new wind-farm guidelines introduced last year, environmental barriers may hold back extensive wind project development.

Heavy Debts Set China Solar Manufacturers Up for Consolidation: Experts believe that the solar industry is headed for “profitless prosperity” as Chinese solar companies are struggling with debt and falling demand. Expect to see more small companies closing their doors along with mergers and acquisitions that continue to shrink the landscape as companies continue to post red ink on their quarterly records.

A DEEPER LOOK

Writing on the Roof: Competition for Electric Utilities: Diverse competitors from energy companies to local schools, are becoming competitors for electric utilities. Why? They are installing their own renewable energy sources and reaping the benefits. But if utilities delve into the world of distributed generation, will it be enough to encourage widespread renewable energy adoption?

A123’s Deal with China’s Wanxiang May Pump Short-term Value into Its Stock: Wanxiang’s $450 million deal with A123 is likely to go through, saving the lithium-ion battery manufacturer from probable bankruptcy. If all goes according to plan, Wanxaing will control 80 percent of the company, which is about 680 million shares, and experts believe AONE stock will jump to $0.55 a share from its current $0.48 value. And if the deal is blocked, Wanxiang has expressed interest in buying AONE at $0.55 a share regardless. Though this would make for good short-term gains, experts still suggest to keep a close eye on its volatility.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

U.S. Using Funds to Enter India Solar Market

“Interestingly, the U.S. government has put anti-dumping duties on solar equipment imported from China because of the alleged subsidies that China is giving to its solar manufacturers. However, the U.S. is engaging in a similar practice in India by subsidising loans for buying American equipment.”  -- Kushal Yadav, Head of Renewable Energy, CSE

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Aug. 6-Aug. 20, 2012 Asia Report: South Korean Solar Companies Make Strong Push Into U.S. Market
July 23-Aug. 6, 2012 Asia Report: World Takes Hard Look at India Grid, Promises of Solar
July 16-23, 2012 Asia Report: Japan Taps Into Promising Geothermal Potential
July 2-16, 2012 Asia Report: The Dawn on Japan’s Offshore Wind Era
June 25-July 2, 20120 Asia Report: Japan Enters Renewables Era With Major Developments
June 18-25, 2012 Asia Report: Toshiba Plans Japan’s Largest PV Plant
June 11-18, 2012 Asia Report: U.K.-Korea Unite Behind Offshore, Tidal Potential
June 4-11, 2012 Asia Report: As EU Trade Case Looms, Market May Shift East
May 21-29, 2012 Asia Report: China’s Solar Giants Unite to Confront Tariff
May 14-21, 2012 Asia Report: Solar Stocks Tumble After Solar Ruling
May 7-14, 2012 Asia Report: Solar Dumping Announcement Set for May 17
May 1-7, 2012 Asia Report: European Ruling Could Cut Into Palm Oil Exports
April 23-30, 2012 Asia Report: U.S., India Strike $125 Million Investment Deal
April 16-23, 2012 Asia Report: Japan Solar FiT Likely In Line With Industry Request

Lead image: Cloudy solar panel via Shutterstock

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