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China seeks government policies to boost distributed PV deployment

August 5, 2021 PV InfoLink


PV Infolink estimates China to add 50 GW of new PV generation capacity in 2021, bringing the cumulative capacity to more than 300 GW by the end of the year. Although the country installed merely 13 GW of PV capacity in the first half of the year, supportive policy is  expected to spur growth of distributed generation and residential projects in the second half.

On June 20, the National Energy Administration published the “Notice on the Pilot Scheme of Province-Wide Distributed Rooftop Project,” allowing local governments to play freely, premised on existing regulations, in hopes of promoting distributed rooftop PV across the country. According to the notice, at least 50% of government estate are required to have rooftops equipped with PV systems, 40% for non-government public buildings such as schools, hospitals, and village committees, 30% for C&I factories, and 20% for residences in rural areas.

The first organized program for province-wide promotion emerged in Shandong, as the provincial government released a consultation paper on “Opinions of Promoting Province-Wide High-Quality Renewable Energy Development,” mandating proportions of distributed PV for both governmental and C&I sectors and regulates electricity trading. The consultation paper specified that the development of distributed generation PV shall be in line with local conditions in towns and cities. The  program advocates building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), supports new public buildings such as government organizations, schools, and hospitals to install distributed PV systems, and encourages citizens to install rooftops PV. Under the plan, Shandong aims to add around 5 GW of distributed PV installed capacity during the 14th Five-Year Plan period.

Besides Shandong, many local governments joined province-wide promotions, such as Shanghai, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Hebei, Xinjiang, Shanxi. Businesses including the State Power Investment Corporation, Unisun, Energyled, and CHN Energy also took part in the scheme. About 23 provinces have reportedly issued relevant documents.

Additionally, under the “one province, one business” concept, the Chinese government wishes to have one business be responsible for promoting distributed PV projects in one entire region, including rooftop and other projects. The policy motivates more distributed PV installations, but large corporations care more about the benefits province-wide PV deployment can bring. For instance, easier access to opportunities for developing centralized power stations in the future or other advantaging policies will be bigger incentives for corporations to participate in province-wide promotions.

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