SYDNEY — Shares in Chinese solar companies soared after the government allocated a further 7 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) of subsidies for domestic installations this year, taking the year’s total to 13 billion yuan ($2 billion), according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
News of further financial support came after Xinhua reported China may double its upper limit for solar power capacity to 40 GW by 2015. Elsewhere, the Shanghai Securities News said officials may double their target for solar installations, while China’s Ministry of Science and Technology confirmed subsidies for more than 100 developers with a combined capacity of 2.8 GW. The payouts, under the Golden Sun program, are the second round announced this year.
Stocks to benefit included Trina, Yingli, JA Solar and LDK, as the actions rescue the biggest solar-panel manufacturers and their suppliers after a glut of capacity depressed prices and profits worldwide. In recent weeks, the government also extended loans to the industry through China Development Bank and allowed local authorities to extend support.
“What Beijing is doing is essentially trying to replace the diminished export sales with lower price, lower margin domestic sales,” Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov told Reuters. “It is a backdoor bailout.”
News of the subsidies came as the China PV Industry Alliance forecast a 40% drop in export volume of PV solar products and an 80% plunge in domestic orders for manufacturing equipment for PV solar products. “Up to 90 percent of Chinese poly-silicon producers have stopped production because of the falling demand,” said Wang Bohua, secretary general of the body. Even though some large companies are trying hard to keep producing, their capacity utilization is low.”
IN THE NEWS
JinkoSolar to supply 81 MW to South Africa’s Northern Cape: China’s JinkoSolar has signed a contract to supply 81 MW of modules to a PV plant in South Africa. The project is expected to be the largest individual PV project on the African continent.
Panasonic starts Malaysia solar-panel plant to meet Japan demand: Panasonic started solar-panel production at a plant in Malaysia to meet “robust” demand in Japan, the company said in a statement. The plant, with an annual capacity of 300 MW, will also make wafers and solar cells and increase the company’s total module production capacity to 900 MW.
Hanwha SolarOne reports quarterly loss on weak prices: Korean PV cell-maker Hanwha SolarOne’s quarterly loss nearly doubled amid a slump in prices. Hanwha cut its full-year shipment forecast, but says it hopes to see some benefits from the absorption of Germany’s Q-Cells into its wider corporate family.
German solar focus on Malaysia: Germany’s Wirsol, a solar energy provider, is expanding its footprint into Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on Malaysia. “Wirsol is looking at opportunities in Thailand, Indonesia, and some of the South Pacific Islands, but the main focus at the moment is Malaysia,” said Wirsol Southeast Asia president Gabriel Peter Salgo.
Australia takes a shine to solar energy research: Australia’s energy minister, Martin Ferguson, announced more than A$83 million ($85 million) for an eight-year research project as part of the United States-Australia Solar Energy Collaboration (USASEC) launched in 2010. The research will focus on concentrating solar power technologies, which will aim to reduce the cost of the technology to between 9 Australian cents and 12 Australian cents a kilowatt hour, and be able to compete with fossil fuels — possibly as early as 2016.
US promotes geothermal power development in Indonesia: The U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a $546,766 grant to PT Teknosatria Energi Geothermal (TEG) to partially fund a feasibility study for a 30-MW geothermal power project at the Cibuni site in West Java, Indonesia.
ON THE HORIZON
Asia-Pacific solar markets to reach $11.1 billion by 2016 – report: Asia-Pacific solar markets are expected to reach $7.6 billion in 2011 and then expand to $11.1 billion annually by 2016, according to Frost & Sullivan, driven by feed-in tariff policies.
What Australia’s clean energy industry wants for Christmas: Renew Economy asked corporate leaders from the clean energy industry what they wanted for Christmas. Policy certainty was the number one issue, and it may arrive a few days early with the RET review. Oh, and lunch with our new clean energy Czars, and an electric bike.
A DEEPER LOOK
Asia must wake up to the reality of climate change: Bloomberg View’s William Pesek writes New York’s brush with developing-nation status is an even bigger warning for Asia than it is for the United States. The deadly floods and crippling power outages following hurricane Sandy made for more than graphic television. They made a mockery of the climate-change deniers. Just ask residents of lower Manhattan as they referred to neighbourhoods such as pricey Tribeca as ”Little North Korea.” The Asia reference is fitting, because that region is where the real wake-up call should be.
Mitsubishi deal is a hard sell for Vestas in China: Dominique Patton of Recharge writes the Mitsubishi investment in global wind leader Vestas is being seen by many as a good deal for the Danish firm — but the view from China is not nearly so positive. China’s distrust of the Japanese goes back centuries and resentment over atrocities committed in the past frequently flares up during diplomatic disputes. Tension has surged once again as both sides square off over the Diaoyu islands (known as Senkaku in Japan), considered by both to be sovereign territory.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Dec. 11-17, 2012 Asia Report: India Hopes to Ramp Up Installed Solar Capacity to 9 GW by 2017
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
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