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New Funding Model May Boost Rooftop Solar In China

Attractive kickstarters added for rooftop solar in China.

China may currently be the world’s largest producer of solar panels and a solar farm leader. However, it ranks low in terms of how much small-scale rooftop solar is being deployed within the country. This may soon change.

Rooftop solar might even compare to other countries due to a new funding model which allows buyers to have panels installed at no cost.

Reuters reports third-party financing models used in the United States could help expand rooftop solar in China. Consider this factor and some timely rooftop electricity deals, all accompanied by overall lower costs of solar.

Shanghai skyline and solar panels shutterstock_185511743

Rooftop Solar Growth, Spurred By Business Agreements & Electricity Cost

China is targeting elevation of its solar capacity from 28 GW in 2014 to 100 GW by 2020. But interest from households and businesses has been lower than desired — in part, because of hurdles like high installation costs, the difficulty in obtaining rooftop rights, and statutory limits on leases.

Germany’s Federal Network Agency, the regulatory office for electricity, gas, telecommunications, post and railway markets, reports small-scale installations in China accounted for just 17% of installed solar capacity at the end of 2014. By contrast, small-scale installation in Germany accounted for 70% of capacity.

A handful of timely business deals may alter this energy landscape.

Singapore-based real estate investment firm Redwood Group has recently launched a 248 kW pilot project in China, where it owns more than half a million square meters of roof space.

Redwood has signed a power purchase agreement with New York-based solar developer UGE International (UGEI) and its financing partner, Hong-Kong’s Blue Sky Energy Efficiency Co. Under the Redwood deal, UGEI and Blue Sky can lease rooftop space from Redwood to operate solar panels, where the companies can then sell electricity back to Redwood at prices below grid rates.

“The time is right now for solar on rooftop in China because the cost of putting a system on the roof is becoming much more attractive,” said Blue Sky chief executive Tianyu Sieh.

Reuters reports UGEI and Blue Sky have also partnered with global real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle in China to offer the same model to its portfolio of commercial clients.

“The benefits are going to be around avoided capital, reduced costs, or cost predictability, branding benefits,” Matthew Clifford, the head of Energy and Sustainability Services for North Asia at Jones Lang LaSalle, said.

Image: Shanghai skyline and solar panel, via Shutterstock

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Written By

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.


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