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Asia Report: India Hopes to Ramp Up Installed Solar Capacity to 9 GW by 2017

India has released a draft version of phase two of its Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), which lays out ambitions to build 9 GW of grid-connected solar plants by 2017 – more than eight times its current capacity.

Plans include auctioning 1.65 GW of PV capacity by the central government in the next financial year, direct grants to cut project costs and loosening curbs on the purchase of equipment from overseas, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. According to the plans, solar thermal technology would provide 30 percent of the total and solar photovoltaic panels would account for the rest.

The news came after forecasts pegged installed wind capacity at 89 GW by 2020 and 191 GW by 2030, attracting $16.5 billion of annual investment.

The government plans to award direct grants for as much as 40 percent of the upfront cost of building projects, which analysts expect will substantially increase total investment in solar energy in India.

The Climate Policy Initiative and the Indian School of Business said in two studies that higher interest rates and the short-term lending available for renewable projects in India add as much as 32 percent to the cost of clean power compared with similar projects in the U.S. and Europe.

The government grants would be financed with revenue from the National Clean Energy Fund, which has been taxing coal producers 50 rupees (92 cents) per tonne since July 2010 and was expected to raise 25 billion rupees in its first year.

Phase two of JNNSM proposes removing domestic content requirements, a move which is likely to run a wrecking ball through domestic crystalline-silicon manufacturers. But it could also bring down the cost of PV installations in the country.

The move is expected to hamper the success enjoyed by First Solar, which profits from thin film modules being exempt from domestic content requirements.

The responsibility for building 60 percent of the targeted 9 GW will be shifted to individual states. Separately, the country’s southern state of Tamil Nadu said it plans to auction 1 GW of solar power capacity next month. Developers may submit bids for projects of 1 MW or more by January 4.

IN THE NEWS

India probes solar cell dumping by China, US, Malaysia, Taipei: India’s government has initiated a probe into alleged dumping of solar cells by Malaysia, China, Chinese Taipei and the US following complaints by domestic manufacturers.

JinkoSolar soars with $1 billion in backing from China: JinkoSolar shares climbed to a six-month high after it won as much as $1 billion in financing from China Development Bank Corp, a sign that the Chinese government is placing bets on specific manufacturers.

LDK unveils more job cuts, slashes revenue forecast: China-based LDK slashed its revenue forecast for the year and disclosed that it had laid off more than 2,500 employees in the third quarter as high U.S. import duties and weak prices dent shipments of solar cells and panels. 

Obama offers $6 billion investment for Asia-Pacific clean energy infrastructure: President Barack Obama is offering $6 billion of investment in clean energy infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region under the US-Asia Pacific Comprehensive Partnership for a Sustainable Energy Future. The partnership is being formed to drive investment in the region, and also to provide a ready export market for US companies and their technologies.

South Korean companies to build 45-MW solar farm in Japan: South Korean companies, including Korea South-East Power, a subsidiary of Korea’s monopoly power distributor, and STX Solar, plan to build a 45MW solar farm in Sendai, Japan. The project may cost 130 billion won ($120 million) when construction begins in the first half of next year in northeastern Japan.

Japan’s Solar Frontier to supply 14-MW of panels to Mitsui solar projects: Japan’s Solar Frontier, a subsidiary of Japan’s Showa Shell Sekiyu, will supply 14 MW of thin-film solar panels for four projects by Mitsui, a Japanese trading company. Mitsui and its partners plan to invest 9 billion yen ($110 million) in 10 solar projects including at least four projects using Solar Frontier modules across Japan by March 2014.

SunPower extends Toshiba Japanese supply deal to 2018: SunPower has extended its supply agreement in Japan with Toshiba, which will continue to sell SunPower modules into the booming Japanese residential PV market until 2018.

First Solar, SunPower ink major China deals: First Solar and SunPower separately announced deals that will see their technologies being installed China. First Solar said it will be shipping 2 MW of solar panels for its first-ever demonstration project in China in early 2013. SunPower said it’s agreed to form a joint venture with Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor, Inner Mongolia Power Group and Hohhot Jinqiao City Development Company to manufacture and install its solar panels and trackers in China.

Suntech to restate results to 2010 after alleged fraud: Suntech, the world’s biggest solar-panel maker, reduced its forecast for shipments this year and plans to restate earnings back to 2010 following a fraud investigation over an investment in Italy.

Vietnam starts building $1.37 billion Mekong Delta power plant: Vietnam Electricity began building a 28.5 trillion-dong ($1.37 billion) coal-fired electricity plant in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh. The Duyen Hai 3 power station will have a capacity of 1.24GW.

Asian Development Bank study puts spotlights Myanmar’s energy sector: Myanmar has significant potential energy resources but lacks the capital and regulatory framework needed to develop them, an initial assessment by the Asian Development Bank shows. Myanmar can benefit from oil and gas exploration, as well as harnessing the energy of geothermal and other renewable energy sources.

ON THE HORIZON

China seen hitting 150-GW installed wind capacity by 2015: China’s wind industry is forecast to reach 150 GW of installed capacity by 2015 — shattering the central government’s goal of 100 GW by 2015, according to GTM Research’s China Wind Market Quarterly, released with market analysts Azure International.

A DEEPER LOOK

Japan: a beacon for weary solar makers: Fve months after Japan kick-started a clean power incentive program, the country is seeing a boom in solar power project installation. That’s good news for solar manufacturers who are seeing a decline in mature markets such as Germany and hungry for new territories.

Distributed PV power generation to accelerate China market growth: During September and October 2012, the Chinese government announced intensive distributed PV power generation policies that are likely to expand the market share of the building-mount PV segment in China. An installation target of 5 GW distributed PV power generation yearly is expected to be achieved by the end of 2016. 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“As we sit here in these negotiations, even as we vacillate and procrastinate here, the death toll [in the Philippines] is rising. I appeal to leaders from all over the world to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face.” — Naderev Sano, the Philippines’ lead negotiator at the Doha climate talks, following the week’s devastating typhoon, which killed more than 650 people


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Dec. 4-10, 2012 Asia Report: India's Wind Power Capacity Expected to Balloon by 2020, Says GWEC
Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2012 Asia Report: China Dominates 2011 Global Wind Installations

Nov. 20-26, 2012 Asia Report: Another Week of Woe for China's Solar Panel Manufacturers

Nov. 13-19, 2012 Asia Report: Australia Lays Out 2050 Renewable Energy Vision

Nov. 3-12, 2012 Asia Report: Panasonic Freezesz Investment in Malaysia PV Manufacturing

Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2012 Asia Report: Brightsource and Alstom Target Australia and India with New Funding

Oct. 19-26, 2012 Asia Report: First Solar Enters Nascent Indonesian Market with 100-MW Deal
Aug. 21-28, 2012 Asia Report: US Accused of Killing India's Solar Energy Industry

Lead image: Taj Mahal via Shutterstock

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