China vows to back solar sector

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has pledged new measures to support the country’s solar industry.

Li – number two in the country's leadership – said the government would do more to help the industry in the face of excess production capacity in the global market and European trade action against Chinese PV equipment.

Beijing vowed to help expand the development of distributed PV, while also improving grid access and encouraging utilities to buy electricity generated by solar projects.

It promised to back efforts to support solar electricity prices by setting regional benchmarks.

The Chinese government wants financial institutions to provide funding support to PV manufacturers.

However, it also said it would encourage consolidation through mergers and acquisitions, while strengthening industry standards and introducing measures to discourage rampant capacity expansion.

“Solar is an important new energy industry,” China’s State Council said in a statement outlining the measures.

“But due to the downturn in the global PV market, as well as the difficult production and management situation, we need to support the healthy development of the industry.”

The new guidelines were part of a 10-measure policy package Beijing is introducing to clean up the country’s notoriously polluted skies.

Earlier this month, the European Union applied a preliminary anti-dumping duty of 11.8% on Chinese PV imports until 6 August. If the two sides fail to reach a resolution in the next four months, higher individual duties will be applied to Chinese manufacturers.