Approval of the solar power projects is the strongest demonstration of government support for the Chinese solar energy industry since the worsening of the European debt crisis and the US imposition of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on Chinese imports, GCL-Poly Energy stated in a press release.
The approvals also represent a milestone in government support for the construction of large, utility-scale solar power projects in China, GCL-Poly Energy says.
China’s GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd., the world’s largest producer of the polysilicon used in the manufacture of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and panels, gained approval from the National Energy Bureau to begin work on a 310-MW ground-mounted and a 30-MW rooftop solar power project in the prefectural city of Datong.
As part of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced the goal of reducing the cost of solar power to 0.8 yuan (12 US cents) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) by 2015 and 0.6 yuan (9 cents) by 2020. The new Five-Year Plan also calls for Chinese manufacturers to significantly increase production of solar PV panels in order to reach 5 gigawatts (5 GW) by 2015, while polysilicon producers will increase their annual production capacity to 50,000 tons.
Direct and indirect government support for China’s solar PV industry participants has been the central element enabling Chinese silicon and solar PV manufacturers to become the world’s leading providers. Rapid expansion of production has also led to oversupply and a precipitous decline in the price of solar cells and modules worldwide. Chinese solar PV producers took on huge amounts of bank debt, as well as raising equity, in order to finance expansion. As recent financial results show, that’s put them in fragile financial condition.