China Getting FIT for Summer
Since 2007 China has been the world's foremost producer of photovoltaic solar panels producing near half of the world supply. Some have attributed China's ascent to the downsizing of manufacturing in the United and the falling prices of solar panels globally. Now China intends to dominate both sides of the market, spurring their economy from within and investing in infrastructure on an unprecedented scale.
China's new feed-in tariff program guarantees solar developers 1 yuan ($0.15) per kilowatt for grid-tied solar installations of all sizes. Already China has a tested FiT program for wind energy that has been in place since 2009 and propelled them to lead the world in wind energy manufacturing and generation; now developers are poised to cash in again. Insider estimates expect that this new FiT program could result in a ten-fold capacity increase for China in as little as five years. Furthermore, Canada's Globe and Mail reported, "At a time of slowing global demand as big markets such as Germany and Italy reduce subsidies for solar panels, Beijing's increasing support will see the country -- already the world's largest maker of solar panels -- become one of the world's biggest buyers of solar panels in coming years."
Coincidentally China's FiT program announcement happened on the same day as the U.K. ended its own solar subsidy program. In the U.K., the solar market recently experienced a huge boom but experts are unsure whether the falling prices - down 70% since 2008 - are enough to support the industry without the government's help. It can be expected that China's plan will have a similar effect as investors flock to China for new opportunities in renewable energy. Who knows, maybe this will even serve as an impetus for the United States to follow suit.