China taking solar power lead?

Aug. 2, 2011 at 8:38 AM
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BEIJING, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Beijing announced it was guaranteeing solar developers certain payments for every kilowatt-hour of clean energy they feed into the nation's grid.

As an economic powerhouse, Beijing is moving to include more renewable energy on the national grid. The country set a goal of increasing its solar power capacity significantly during the next five years.

A feed-in tariff guaranteeing about 15 U.S. cents per kilowatt hour of electricity could put the country in a leadership position, the Financial Times reports.

"We strongly believe that China will quickly evolve into one of the largest and most important solar markets in the world," Miao Liansheng chief executive of solar power company Yingli, told the newspaper.

Beijing's European rivals have started cutting back on solar power subsidies, meaning China is set to become a world leader in solar panel purchases.

"The demand has kicked up significantly in the course of this year," Andrew Beebe, chief commercial officer at solar panel manufacturer Suntech, told the Financial Times. "It's been a small portion of our business historically but it is definitely gaining."

China enacted a similar mechanism for wind farms in 2009.

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