China promises new support to solar development

December 3, 2010 By JOE McDONALD , AP Business Writer

(AP) -- Beijing is promising new subsidies to develop China's solar power industry - policies already under fire from the United States as a possible trade violation.

The Finance Ministry announcement late Thursday came amid global talks in Cancun, Mexico, on controlling output of gases blamed for changing the climate. China and the United States are the world's biggest emitters.

Beijing has rejected binding limits on emissions but is pressing for development of solar and industries to reduce reliance on imported oil and gas and to profit from growing global clean power demand.

Government plans call for at least 15 percent of China's power to come from renewable sources by 2020.

Beijing will create 13 industry zones and pay up to half the price of equipment in projects, the Finance Ministry said. It said other costs will be covered by a subsidy of 4 to 6 yuan (60 to 90 U.S. cents) per watt of generating capacity.

"China will invest more in construction projects with solar power applications," the ministry said on its website.

Environmentalists have welcomed China's promotion of clean power. But foreign business and labor groups complain Beijing is violating free-trade commitments by giving its manufacturers improper subsidies and hampering access to its large, fast-growing market.

Thursday's announcement gave no indication whether foreign equipment would be eligible for subsidies but business groups say foreign wind turbine producers have been shut out of Chinese government-financed projects.

Washington is investigating a complaint by the United Steelworkers union that Beijing's policies violate World Trade Organization rules. The union says subsidized rent in industrial parks and other support to Chinese producers allows them to sell solar and wind equipment at unfairly low prices and is wiping out U.S. jobs.

The United States could file a WTO complaint if it concludes the union's allegations are true. A WTO ruling in Washington's favor would clear the way for sanctions on Chinese imports unless Beijing halted the practices.

The dispute is especially sensitive at a time when the hopes to reduce high unemployment by boosting technology exports.

is home to major producers of solar power cells but most of their goods are sold abroad because they cost more than coal- or gas-fired generators. The government is trying to expand their domestic market by paying the difference in price.

In 2009, Beijing promised to pay up to 50 percent of the cost of solar power plants of more than 500 megawatts - the equivalent of a coal-fired plant - for two to three years and up to 70 percent in remote rural areas.

Thursday's statement appeared to extend that policy and might expand its scale, because it set no size limit on projects that could receive subsidies.

Explore further: US, Europe look to China for clean energy sales

More information: Chinese Ministry of Finance:


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3.5 / 5 (2) Dec 03, 2010
China understands they are at a long term strategic disadvantage. They are using so much coal so fast as well as other natural resources(and they can't afford the solar cells they produce in their own country). When you consider 1.3 billion people and the resources they consume over the long run it boggles the mind. Now, developed countries like the US have problems no doubt but I believe when you look at the long run it's clear that China/India will have major issues to sort through on the energy and infrastructure fronts. I'm not saying they wont be successful or that it's a zero sum game but even considering the financial mess the US and EU are in I believe they have huge advantages. This is why, I believe, China and India see sustainable energy as so critical.
1 / 5 (1) Dec 03, 2010
I think it's all political bull****, like everything China does. It's got nothing at all to do with an "energy strategy". It's a bone they throw to the crying leftists in the west (those that have the nerve to criticize China for anything that is) because they're burning the hell out of fossil fuels in order to fully industrialize their economy. Nothing more, nothing less.

If they were serious about an energy policy they'd be building nuclear reactors. Reactors get you long term sustainable energy. Solar panels get you brownie points...
not rated yet Dec 03, 2010
I agree 100% about nuclear reactors as well as the comparison to solar but I still think China and India are heading for resource problems. Look at how many resources the 300m or so in the US use. Absolutely crazy. Countries should follow France when it comes to energy if you ask me. I keep wondering what is holding companies like Hyperion Power back. I admit that I am no nuclear scientist but their product looks great. However, I understand many times a great idea is a result of ignorance on the subject. :-)
not rated yet Dec 03, 2010
There are at least 309 nuclear reactors being built in China right now.
How many in the USA?
And of course nobody in the USA gets s subsidy for their wind or solar projects do they?
not rated yet Dec 03, 2010
Sorry - should be "30"
1 / 5 (1) Dec 03, 2010
The newest technology is in the USA for solar power that I know of--solar salvation popular science Dec. 2007. Producing solar without silicon was a marvel in my opinion when this article was released.

China's investment in Nanosolar is beneficial to all and no I don't think they would ever run out of resources because humans are suppose to help other humans. This should have been a moment of collecting information and comparing at Cancun. Shame on those countries wasting sharing with such pessimistic downturning.
5 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2011
Just because China's power mad elite are building roads and wow skyscrapers, doesn't mean that they are not murderous sociopaths.
This positive spin on the Chinese government is exactly like this. If there is a Satan and he has built a bureaucracy, call it the 'Ministry of Truth', and now Minitrue is killing less or at least reporting fewer killings, then all is well. You can take monster out of the title, but you cannot take it out of the man.
1 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2011
"A-Power Energy Generation Systems. This is a Chinese supplier of wind turbines, partnered with a Dallas investment firm with strong ties to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democratic Party insiders.

A-Power seeks to "compete" for $450 million in taxpayer stimulus money to construct a wind farm in Texas. The assembly plant, oddly enough, would be located in Henderson -- Reid's home state."
"A communist Chinese company seeks $450 million in American taxpayer money to build a wind farm in Texas with parts assembled in Nevada. This is "state capitalism" in full bloom: Political back-scratching and cronyism with no chance of translating into a sustainable market in the long term. True capitalism is never born out of a Senate re-election bid. Capitalism requires innovation, not government intervention and political patronage."

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