La Cina frena sul suo programma solare / Is China Putting the Brakes on Its Solar Program?

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April 22, 2010

Despite the fact that China led the world in clean energy investments last year, the Chinese government is now backing away from ambitious plans to plant megawatts of solar in the country.

Concerned by the high cost of solar – which can be four times more expensive than fossil fuels – and fears that solar power won’t deliver on some of the anticipated goals, the Chinese government is not about to subsidize solar power on a national level, Shi Lishan, deputy director in China’s energy bureau, said in an interview with Guangzhou’s 21st Century CBH.com earlier this month.

A couple of weeks ago, the state-run China Securities Journal carried a similar report, saying that the funds shortage blocks the central government from introducing a feed-in tariff. Already, the government’s annual subsidy for solar PV projects has hit RMB 7 billion, or more than US$1 billion, according to Wang Sicheng from China’s National Development and Reform Commission, as quoted in the report.

In addition to the financial burden, the government also wants to prevent the Chinese solar PV market from overheating.

Zeng Weiqiang, an analyst at Guangzhou-based GF Securities, points out:

Once the government sets up an attractive price for solar power purchasing, many companies would swarm into this market in hope of high returns, which will inevitably result in a large amount of low-end solar projects.

Because of the situation, some analysts have become hesitant about giving 2010 and 2011 forecasts for solar installations in China.

In 2009, through two major supportive programs, Golden Sun and the Solar Rooftop program, about 160 megawatts of solar PV systems were installed in China. That more than doubled the country’s total installed capacity.

Another major factor that has rendered the Chinese government reluctant to unveil a feed-in tariff is the change in overseas demand. The global financial crisis froze China’s export-oriented solar industry from late 2008 to early 2009, pushing the government to create alternate solutions such as developing the domestic market. Since then, the international market has rebounded, reducing the need for a domestic program.

Suntech Power Holdings (STP), a leading Chinese solar PV manufacturer and one of the two largest such companies worldwide, estimates that China will account for only 5% of its total sales in 2010, while about 85% will go to Europe and North America, says Rory Macpherson, the company’s investor relations director.

Unlike Suntech and other solar PV manufacturers, project developers who already have solar power plants in China are expected to get hurt.

Zeng commented:

Obviously, this [lack of a feed-in tariff] means no profits for China’s solar project developers. As subsidies through the Golden Sun Program can cover only half of the upfront investment, those developers may break even or suffer losses.

If developers cannot get returns on their investment, it might be hard for China to achieve its planned 20 gigawatts PV installation capacity target by 2020, but the real question is whether this goal still exists or even remains realistic.

China’s new energy industry development plan, which includes the nation’s renewable energy targets for the coming decade, is still in discussion, and it will not be formally announced in the short term, local media quoted Mr. Shi, the senior official in the department in charge of solar, as saying. Shi said:

In my opinion, whether this plan will be issued and what the targets are for Chinese renewable energy is not the most important thing.

Table: China’s new installed PV system capacity from 2004 to 2009, Unit: MW

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Nonostante il fatto che la Cina ha portato il mondo in investimenti in energie pulite l’anno scorso, il governo cinese è ora marcia indietro rispetto l’ambizioso progetto di impianto megawatt di energia solare nel Paese.Concerned by the high cost of solar – which can be four times more expensive than fossil fuels – and fears that solar power won’t deliver on some of the anticipated goals, the Chinese government is not about to subsidize solar power on a national level, Shi Lishan, deputy director in China’s energy bureau, said in an interview with Guangzhou’s 21st Century CBH.com earlier this month. Preoccupato per l’alto costo di energia solare – che possono essere quattro volte più costosi rispetto ai combustibili fossili – e teme che l’energia solare non consegnerà su alcuni degli obiettivi previsti, il governo cinese non è in procinto di sovvenzionare l’energia solare a livello nazionale, Shi Lishan, vice direttore dell’Ufficio di presidenza energetica della Cina, ha detto in un’intervista con Guangzhou 21st Century CBH.com all’inizio di questo mese.

A couple of weeks ago, the state-run China Securities Journal carried a similar report, saying that the funds shortage blocks the central government from introducing a feed-in tariff. Un paio di settimane fa, la statale China Securities Journal svolto una relazione simile, dicendo che i blocchi carenza fondi del governo centrale di introdurre un feed-in tariff. Already, the government’s annual subsidy for solar PV projects has hit RMB 7 billion, or more than US$1 billion, according to Wang Sicheng from China’s National Development and Reform Commission, as quoted in the report. Già, sovvenzione annuale del governo per progetti di solare fotovoltaico ha colpito RMB 7.000 milioni, ovvero più di 1 miliardo di dollari, secondo Wang Sicheng dalla nazionale cinese per lo sviluppo e la riforma della Commissione, come citato nella relazione.

In addition to the financial burden, the government also wants to prevent the Chinese solar PV market from overheating. Oltre al onere finanziario, il governo vuole anche evitare che il mercato cinese solare fotovoltaico dal surriscaldamento.

Zeng Weiqiang, an analyst at Guangzhou-based GF Securities, points out: Zeng Weiqiang, analista di Guangzhou-based Securities GF, sottolinea:

Once the government sets up an attractive price for solar power purchasing, many companies would swarm into this market in hope of high returns, which will inevitably result in a large amount of low-end solar projects. Una volta che il governo fissa un prezzo interessante per l’acquisto di energia solare, molte aziende avrebbero sciame in questo mercato nella speranza di alti rendimenti, che si tradurrà inevitabilmente in una grande quantità di progetti solari low-end.

Because of the situation, some analysts have become hesitant about giving 2010 and 2011 forecasts for solar installations in China. A causa della situazione, alcuni analisti si sono esitanti di dare 2010 e il 2011 le previsioni per gli impianti solari in Cina.

In 2009, through two major supportive programs, Golden Sun and the Solar Rooftop program, about 160 megawatts of solar PV systems were installed in China. Nel 2009, attraverso due importanti programmi di sostegno, Golden Sun e il programma solare sul tetto, circa 160 megawatt di impianti solari fotovoltaici sono stati installati in Cina. That more than doubled the country’s total installed capacity. Che è più che raddoppiato la capacità installata totale del paese.

Another major factor that has rendered the Chinese government reluctant to unveil a feed-in tariff is the change in overseas demand. Un altro importante fattore che ha reso il governo cinese restii a svelare un feed-in tariff è la variazione della domanda d’oltremare. The global financial crisis froze China’s export-oriented solar industry from late 2008 to early 2009, pushing the government to create alternate solutions such as developing the domestic market. La crisi finanziaria mondiale ha congelato l’industria orientata all’esportazione solare della Cina dalla fine del 2008 per l’inizio del 2009, spingendo il governo a creare soluzioni alternative quali lo sviluppo del mercato interno. Since then, the international market has rebounded, reducing the need for a domestic program. Da allora, il mercato internazionale ha rimbalzato, riducendo la necessità di un programma nazionale.

Suntech Power Holdings ( STP ), a leading Chinese solar PV manufacturer and one of the two largest such companies worldwide, estimates that China will account for only 5% of its total sales in 2010, while about 85% will go to Europe and North America, says Rory Macpherson, the company’s investor relations director. Suntech Power Holdings ( STP ), uno dei principali produttori cinesi solare fotovoltaico e uno dei due più grandi aziende come in tutto il mondo, stima che la Cina rappresentano solo il 5% delle sue vendite totali nel 2010, mentre circa il 85% andra ‘in Europa e Nord America , afferma Rory Macpherson, direttore della società Investor Relations.

Unlike Suntech and other solar PV manufacturers, project developers who already have solar power plants in China are expected to get hurt. A differenza di Suntech e altri produttori di fotovoltaico, progettisti che hanno già centrali solari in Cina sono tenuti a farsi male.

Zeng commented: Zeng ha commentato:

Obviously, this [lack of a feed-in tariff] means no profits for China’s solar project developers. Ovviamente, questa [la mancanza di un feed-in tariff] significa mancanza di profitti per gli sviluppatori cinese progetto solare. As subsidies through the Golden Sun Program can cover only half of the upfront investment, those developers may break even or suffer losses. Come contributi attraverso il Sole d’Oro Programma in grado di coprire solo la metà degli investimenti iniziali, gli sviluppatori possono andare in pari o subire perdite.

If developers cannot get returns on their investment, it might be hard for China to achieve its planned 20 gigawatts PV installation capacity target by 2020, but the real question is whether this goal still exists or even remains realistic. Se gli sviluppatori non possono ottenere rendimenti dei loro investimenti, potrebbe essere difficile per la Cina per raggiungere il suo target previsti 20 gigawatt di capacità dell’impianto fotovoltaico entro il 2020, ma la vera domanda è se questo obiettivo esiste ancora o rimane addirittura realistico.

China’s new energy industry development plan, which includes the nation’s renewable energy targets for the coming decade, is still in discussion, and it will not be formally announced in the short term, local media quoted Mr. Shi, the senior official in the department in charge of solar, as saying. Cina nuova industria piano di sviluppo energetico, che prevede obiettivi di energia rinnovabile del Paese per il prossimo decennio, è ancora in discussione, e non sarà annunciato ufficialmente nel breve periodo, i media locali citati signor Shi, l’alto funzionario del dipartimento in carica di energia solare, come dicendo. Shi said: Shi ha detto:

In my opinion, whether this plan will be issued and what the targets are for Chinese renewable energy is not the most important thing. A mio parere, se questo piano verrà rilasciato e quali sono gli obiettivi per il cinese di energia rinnovabile non è la cosa più importante.

Table: China’s new installed PV system capacity from 2004 to 2009, Unit: MW Tabella: Cina nuova capacità installata di fotovoltaico 2004-2009, unità: MW