- The long-awaited feed-in-tariff is finally announced by the NDRC. According to NDRC website (posted on 1 Aug 2011), feed-in-tariff for solar is promulgated. The latest policy not only shows China’s commitment in developing solar energy, but also gives reasonable return to solar farm developers. Prior to that, tariff for solar projects were approved case-by-case and even recorded loss-making level of RMB0.7/kwh for some projects approved last year.
- Allowing for reasonable return for project developers. We have spoken to a solar farm developer in China, who expects that electricity cost for solar power projects located in north-west China should be in the range of RMB0.85-RMB0.9, under current module prices and annual sunlight of 2000-2200 hours. Thus, feed-in-tariff of RMB1/kwh should give 8-10% project IRR to solar farms, which is the level close to wind farms 10%-12%. Wind capacity in China grew from 12GW in 2008 to 45GW in 2010, thanks to the feed-in-tariff policy for wind farms rolled out in 2009.
- Rapid growth in solar installation expected, but only account for a small portion of the world. Under the newly announced policy, we believe that China would be able to achieve the government’s solar capacity growth from ~600MW in 2010 to over 10GW in by 2015. We expect that annual installation will rise from 320MW in to over 1000MW in 2012 and further to 2000MW in 2013, although it would still account for less than 12% of annual world demand.
- Positive for component manufacturers, such as GCL Poly (3800.HK), Comtec (712.HK) and Solargiga (757.HK). However, the major market would still be overseas, and it is hard to calculate financial impacts of this policy to those companies. We keep all our estimates unchanged.
- Positive for installers, such as Singyes Solar (750.HK). Rooftop solar farms (usually on the top of industrial zones) can now sell electricity at RMB1/kwh. Even without the Golden Sun support (50% subsidy), those projects would earn IRR close to 8%, we estimate. We expect there would be a strong demand for rooftop solar projects coming forward.
Exhibit 1: Details of feed-in-tariff for solar projects
Approved prior to 1 July 2011, and completed installation by 31 Dec 2011: 1.15
Approved prior to 1 July 2011, and completed installation after 31 Dec 2011: 1
Approved after 1 July 2011: 1
Projects in Tibet: 1.15