China’s 2017 Solar Feed-in Tariff Rates Higher Than Anticipated

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A long-expected cut to China’s solar Feed-in Tariff rates has been confirmed by Chinese news outlets, which are reporting confirmed rates for the country’s 2017 solar Feed-in Tariffs — though the good news is that the cuts are less than had been anticipated.

We have been expecting confirmed modifications to China’s solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) rates for a few months now. Late September saw the release of unofficial draft proposals put forward by the country’s National Energy Administration to cut FiT rates for ground mount and distributed generation solar PV power for 2017. At the time, the proposed changes read as follows:

Ground-mounted solar PV Power plants: 

  • Region 1: RMB 0.80 to RMB 0.55 = -37%
  • Region 2: RMB 0.88 to RMB 0.65 = -25%
  • Region 3: RMB 0.98 to RMB 0.75 = -23%

Distributed Solar PV: 

  • Region 1: RMB 0.42 to RMB 0.20 = -52%
  • Region 2: RMB 0.42 to RMB 0.25 = -40%
  • Region 3: RMB 0.42 to RMB 0.30 = -28%

However, according to Chinese media (by way of EnergyTrend) reports, the Chinese Government has decided on less drastic cuts to the tariffs. The cuts for ground-mount solar PV power plants are as follows, however, the data sheet acquired by Chinese online media outlet PVmen did not contain the FiT rates for distributed solar:

Ground-mounted solar PV Power plants: 

  • Region 1: RMB 0.80 to RMB 0.60 = -25%
  • Region 2: RMB 0.88 to RMB 0.70 = -20.5%
  • Region 3: RMB 0.98 to RMB 0.80 = -18%

At the time the original draft proposals were discovered, leading solar expert Mark Osborne noted that the proposed changes “would potentially lower ROI (return on investment) levels significantly for PV project developers and therefore impact installations and demand throughout the supply chain” — suggesting that a less drastic cut to the tariffs would minimize this risk slightly.

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Joshua S Hill

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