August 13, 2011 / 3:45 AM / 8 years ago

China to double solar capacity by year end: report

A worker walks past sets of solar panels on the rooftop of the Nanjing South Railway Station which is under construction in Nanjing, Jiangsu province March 23, 2011. REUTERS/Sean Yong/Files

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will double its solar capacity to around 2 gigawatts (GW) by the end of the year as the world’s largest solar-panel maker ramps up domestic installation, a local paper said on Saturday citing a government-linked think tank.

The solar feed-in tariff, the price of solar-generated electricity, could drop below 0.80 yuan (12.5 cents) for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) by 2015, which would be on par with conventional coal-fired power tariffs by that time, according to s report by the Energy Research Institute, led by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The report also said China was expected to produce 90,000 tonnes of polysilicon this year, representing 80 percent of its domestic demand.

China, the world’s top energy user and carbon emitter, is eager to speed up development of clean energy and reduce its dependence on traditional fossil fuels, especially coal.

To encourage the construction of more solar power plants, the NDRC has set unified benchmark grid feed-in power tariffs for solar projects for the first time ever earlier this month.

The rates, set at 1 yuan for each kWh, were higher than many of those that were proposed and accepted by state-owned solar-power developers in China’s previous official tenders, which ranged from 0.73 to 0.99 yuan for each kWh last year.

China had about 900 megawatts of solar power generating capacity at the end of 2010.

Reporting by Fayen Wong and Ruby Lian; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani

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