Solar stocks shine as Beijing raises target

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 August, 2014, 3:11pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 August, 2014, 7:11pm

Shares of the mainland's solar panel makers and solar farm developers rose yesterday after the energy regulator said it expected this year's installations to be close to a higher target set early this year before it was pared down.

GCL-Poly Energy Holdings, the world's largest maker of solar panel parts and raw material polysilicon, gained 1.5 per cent to end at HK$2.64. Solar farm installation engineering firm China Singyes Solar Technologies Holdings jumped 5.9 per cent to HK$12.84. The Hang Seng Index closed down 0.26 per cent.

National Energy Administration head Wu Xinxiong told an industry event in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, on Monday that the regulator was aiming for 13 gigawatts of new capacity to be added this year, Xinhua reported.

This is close to the 14GW official target announced early this year and substantially higher than the revised target of 10GW Wu announced in June.

The latest 13GW target reflects the regulator's confidence that support policies to be launched as early as this month would address the growth bottleneck, two industry executives said.

Beijing planned to raise the subsidy on power sales by rooftop solar farm developers to state-owned distributors by up to 55 per cent, and compel the latter to act as an agent for collecting power bills in exchange for a fee if the developers directly sold to customers, said United Photovoltaics Group chief project officer Zou Deyu last month.

This would allay banks' concerns that power users such as factories in industrial parks would not be able to commit to long-term power purchase agreements, something financiers typically look for before they finance solar farm projects.

The subsidy increase would be implemented by allowing rooftop developers fixed tariffs currently enjoyed by ground-mounted projects, Zou said. This means the subsidy could rise by 31 to 55 per cent from the current 42 fen (53 HK cents), boosting the developers' viability.

Only 3GW of capacity was added in the first half of the year, of which 500 megawatts was on rooftops, according to financial portal

The regulator's full-year target at the start of the year was for 8GW of rooftop projects and 6GW of ground-mounted ones.