• Under the second batch of Photovoltaic Poverty Alleviation Projects, China has approved 1.67 GW of new capacity to be constructed within 2019
  • Projects that fail to achieve completion by the scheduled date, will be considered as abandoned and no longer to included under the scheme
  • All of this capacity will be deployed in 165 counties in the form of 3,961 solar power plants
  • Such projects are still eligible for state subsidies, while the government is taking time in finalizing a state policy for unsubsidized large-scale project construction; lack of a clear policy guide has likely impacted country’s numbers for Q1/2019 when industry experts say installations dropped 46% YoY

The Chinese National Energy Administration (NEA) has approved 1,673 MW of solar power capacity to be deployed in the form of 3,961 of plants under its poverty alleviation solar projects scheme. In a notice issued by the energy regulator, it targets this capacity to be installed within the year 2019 in 165 counties that are able to claim state subsidy.

These will be part of the second batch of the Photovoltaic Poverty Alleviation Projects under the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan. Those projects that do not complete on time, will be deemed as ‘automatically abandoned’ and no longer be included in the scheme.

The first batch of the poverty alleviation solar projects are expected to come online by June 30, 2019. The location and capacity schedule for the second batch of the projects is listed on the NEA’s website.

While solar projects of the poverty alleviation scheme will continue to get state subsidies, a week back, the NEA released draft rules on the development of subsidy-free, grid-parity solar PV and wind power projects, at the same time confirming RMB 3 billion ($448 million) in subsidy for solar in 2019 (see China Issues Draft Policy For Solar/Wind Projects).

Referring to statistics shared by the Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory (AECEA) based on the country’s National Renewable Energy Center (NREC), Mercom India Research says China installed 5.2 GW new solar in Q1/2019 with the majority being distributed solar PV projects. This is a drop of 46% YoY from 9.65 GW added a year back (see China Installed Record 9.65 GW PV In Q1/2018). However, China’s Electricity Council claims around 3.49 GW of installations in Q1/2019.

A lack of clarity in terms of a definitive solar policy is one reason for large scale project developers bidding their time before embarking on development activities in China, something that Frank Haugwitz of AECEA expects to be finalized by June 2019.