With the increasingly expanding energy demands and prominent energy problems, it has been a commanding height of global economic development in the 21st century to largely develop new energy; therefore, the energy revolution and industrial development of such new energy as PV should be fully implemented and accelerated, starting with either China's safe energy supply, environmental safety guarantee and regional economic development or the internal demands for transformation of economic development mode
Expect the Photovoltaic Product Top-runner Certification Scheme (PVTCS) to recreate performances
Undoubtedly, PVTCS has played a leading role in the photovoltaic industry in 2015.
PVTCS is a special photovoltaic support program launched by the National Energy Administration (NEA) to promote application of advanced photovoltaic technical products and industrial upgrading, for the purpose of encouraging technical research & development and popularization of energy efficiency photovoltaic. In order to respond to NEA's PVTCS, all the photovoltaic manufacturers in China actively improve their own technologies to strive to meet the top-runner standards.
Secretary General of China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) Wang Bohua said to Xinhua,"PVTCS, in close combination with Regulations on Photovoltaic Manufacturing Industry issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China (MIIT), has been leading the transformation of the industry from homogeneous competition to much attention to high-efficiency products since its launching, which plays a leading role in promoting healthy development of the industry and accelerating industrial upgrading".
When interviewed by Xinhua, LONGI Chairman Zhong Baoshen also expressed that PVTCS has had an immeasurable effect on development of the whole photovoltaic industry since its launching.
Zhong Baoshen suggested that the region for top-runner base can be expanded gradually so that the range of industrial application of top-runner enterprises can be enlarged synchronously, and time nodes should be provided, for example, top-runner standard should become the access threshold of the industry after three-year implementation of PVTCS so as to promote advances of the entire industry by continuously upgrading the standard.
Only Datong mining subsidence area 1 gigawatt top-runner base was approved in 2015, but Datong, Jining, Baotou, Yangquan and other cities applied for establishing top-runner bases, which has shown an obvious trend of base expansion.
Coincidentally, Deputy Director of New Energy and Renewable Energy Department, NEA Liang Zhipeng once stated that industrial upgrading is an important mission of the photovoltaic industry during "the 13th-Year Plan". He said, "What we are trying is to expand the construction scale of photovoltaic product top-runner demonstration base. and we have launched Datong 1,000,000 kW PV Top-runner Demonstration Base in 2015, followed by several such bases. I hope that the scale of photovoltaic product top-runner demonstration base can reach 3,000,000 kW or larger in 2016."
It is known that an enterprise that participates in PVTCS actually without any additional fund support can greatly promote its own brand influence. Besides, in the whole photovoltaic industry, some top-runner enterprises which have become the benchmark will lead other enterprises in the industry to improving product quality and conversion efficiency so as to promote benign competition and development of the whole industry.
LONGI President Li Zhenguo said that NEA's PVTCS has developed the manufacturing industry in China to a higher level. According to the current situations, almost 20% of capacity in China meets PVTCS requirements. Therefore, top-runners' enhancement of their requirements in the future will promote the integral development of the entire photovoltaic industry, thus keep it in pace with the world and even probably exceed the photovoltaic product manufacturing level of the world.
During an interview by Xinhua, Acting Executive Director of Leye Photovoltaic Co., Ltd. Li Wenxue said, "PVTCS not only plays an important role in the industrial transformation to hi- tech and high-quality development, but also is an effective way to close down outdated production facilities."
Executive Vice Secretary General of China New Energy Chamber of Commerce (CNECC) Shi Limin said, when interviewed by Xinhua, that PVTCS has promoted transformation and upgrading of the whole industry, led high-efficiency production of ordinary batteries and industrialization of high-efficiency batteries in the entire industry and propelled technological progress of the whole industry. PVTCS has actually uplifted the production capacity of high-efficiency components and batteries of the first-tire photovoltaic industries, stimulated output, indirectly promoted technological progress, transformation and upgrading of the industry, facilitated rapid technological development and accelerated sound and fast development of the overall photovoltaic industry.
Then how PVTCS does continuously promote the development of photovoltaic industry? Li Zhenguo said, when interviewed by Xinhua,that photovoltaic technological development always keeps pace with the times and he also hoped that PVTCS's indexes can advance with the times.
But Li Wenxue thought that among all local regions, only Ningxia issued standard requirements currently, while other local regions should publish some policies corresponding to the national policies to promote the use of efficient products from the national level and then the local level and gradually phase out outdated products.
Shi Limin also signified that the industrial transformation should be strengthened at present. As there are many low-quality components in the market, while our high-efficiency products have been marketed to overseas market mostly, we have to further expand PVTCS so that we can keep better and more high-quality products domestic to improve the power station quality in China. Currently, the scale of top-runner demonstration base is not enough to support large-scale release of advanced photovoltaic capacity, so it is suggested to strengthen the implementation of PVTCS to promote the further industrial transformation and upgrading.
Meanwhile, Shi Limin also proposed that PVTCS demonstration base can be expanded nationwide and the manufacturing and power station enterprises which have gotten better PVTCS effects can be supported by key policies and power station index quota, as well as the supportive tax and financial policies. Furthermore, in photovoltaic product anti-poverty project, power station quality should be actually ensured and some indexes in PVTCS should be introduced for restraint and norms to better promote high-quality completion of photovoltaic product anti-poverty project.
Improve quality and efficiency to help with industrial upgrading
From the end of 2015 till now, NEA has launched frequently combination blows to accelerate and normalize the renewable energy development, which provides a great advantage for national photovoltaic enterprises.
At 2016 National Energy Working Conference on December 29, 2015, NEA proposed the objective of 2016 that the new installed capacity would be more than 15 million kW. The new installed capacity index of "seeking improvement in stability" has reconfirmed that improving quality and efficiency is the keynote of annual development.
On February 18th, NEA convened the Energy Technical Revolution Innovation Action Plan (2013-2030) Forum of Experts in Beijing, on which the energy technical innovation was uplifted to a new height.
On March 3rd, NEA issued the Guiding Opinions on Establishing the Target Leading System for Development and Utilization of Renewable Energy (Guiding Opinions for short), pointing out that, through the establishment of definite objective of development and application of renewable energy sources, China's consumption ratio of electricity generated from renewable energy, instead of hydroelectricity will be up to 9% in 2020. Meanwhile, according to NEA's "the 13th-Year Plan", the photovoltaic product installed capacity will reach 150 million kW in China cumulatively at the end of "the 13th-Year Plan", over 3 times as much as that realized during "the 12th-Year Plan".
According to insiders, development of the photovoltaic industry will enter to the fast traffic lane with China's great development of low-carbon green economy and overlay of favorable factors in policy, technology and environment and other aspects.
On March 5th, Primer of the State Council Li Keqiang pointed out, in the government work report of this year, that energy production and consumption revolution relate to development and people's livelihood, so we should focus on wind power, photovoltaic power and biomass energy and build the energy-saving and environmental-protection industries into emerging pillar industries. Occurrence of the hot term, "photovoltaic power", encourages the insiders once again.
From all of NEA's opinions from the end of 2015 to the beginning of 2016 and the government work report of high-level management during two meetings, it is easily known that the photovoltaic market will present a new round of historic opportunities in 2016.
According to insiders, under the new normal state, economic development needs comprehensive logic of energy development, and the foundation of the abovementioned logic is to put the energy technical innovation in the core position, as the unremitting pursuit of technical innovation is the way of survival in the photovoltaic industry.
Opportunities and challenges always coexist
Wang Bohua held that the global photovoltaic industry is now faced with very severe competition situation. China is one of major manufacturing countries of photovoltaic products, but there are still certain differences in new products and technologies between China and foreign countries. For this reason, industrial innovation and upgrading are the core and fundamental measures. During "the 13th-Year Plan", China's photovoltaic industry should make more breakthroughs in technological element of products and equipment intelligence development. In the long term, strengthening energetically technological innovation and realizing intelligent manufacturing are the only way to technological upgrading of China's photovoltaic industry.
It is noteworthy that the so-called "the most strict photovoltaic policy" was published during two sessions. According to the Guiding Opinion on Improving the Management of Photovoltaic Power Scale and Implementing Project Allocation in a Competitive Way (exposure draft), the supervision and management of annual distribution method, ground photovoltaic, scale and index of advanced photovoltaic demonstration area, project development order, etc. are specified detailedly, which means that the photovoltaic industry has stepped into a stage of transformation and upgrading in the first year of "the 13th-Year Plan", and the photovoltaic manufacturing industry should not only accelerate the construction of installed capacity of the photovoltaic power generators, but also lay emphasis on quality improvement of photovoltaic power generation.
As everyone knows, industrial transformation is closely related to China's backbone manufacturing industry. "Made in China 2025" has been upgraded to a national strategy. In the past year, China realized a considerable export of high-speed rail, nuclear power and new energy equipment, indicating that "made in China" begins to be upgraded from low and middle-grade manufacturing to high-grade manufacturing.
The industrial dilemma is still to be solved
Looking to "the 13th-Year Plan", China's photovoltaic industry will keeps a good development momentum with the policy-guided and market-driven situation, however, difficult financing, expensive financing, default of subsidies, abandoned photovoltaic power and many other problems still perplex the whole photovoltaic industry.
Regarding the current difficulty of financing, Wang Bohua offered suggestions: first, lead fund flow to high-end capacity manufacturing. The photovoltaic financing heat is relatively at the demand side downstream at present, so more funds should be invested in the manufacturing industry upstream to promote the industrial transformation and upgrading from the supply side; second, take the credit policy of differential treatment to avoid any rigid uniformity.
Li Wenxue analyzed and thought that banks and investors mislead the photovoltaic industry. They believe that the photovoltaic industry is of high pollution, energy consumption and excessive capacity, so banks will be more prudent and are unwilling to offer a loan to the industry. For this reason, more propagation should be provided to give the financing institutions the understanding that the photovoltaic industry is not high-pollution but produces clean electric power, and the overall energy consumption will be recovered within 2 years, i.e. net profit will be made within more than 20 years in the 25-year generation period. With the economic development, some new financing modes have occurred, and thus the photovoltaic enterprises should be adapt themselves to the market demands and implement innovation timely in business.
"Now, too high financing cost universally and single financing channels are actually hindering the sound and rapid development of the photovoltaic industry", Shi Limin said. He also suggested that, first, green loans and favorable loan support can be offered to the photovoltaic industry according to the credit for the infrastructure construction projects; second, the financing mode can be innovated and the national policy-based financial institutions can be encouraged to take the lead to establishing special investment funds for the photovoltaic industry so as to relieve the financing pressure of enterprises; and next, exploration of the financing modes of many new photovoltaic projects such as power station asset securitization, online finance and finance lease should be encouraged. The combination box can be used to solve the financing dilemma of the photovoltaic industry, but what is the most important is the national policy guidance and green loan support for green energy.
With regard to subsidy default of the photovoltaic industry for such a long time, Li Zhenguo held that subsidy default has made a great effect on the whole industry, so he hoped that the government can implement corresponding subsidies as soon as possible.
However, Shi Limin indicated that the related departments are actively solving the defaulted subsidy recently. What is the most important now is that the subsidy default is occurred primarily because the renewable energy development fund consists of the renewable energy surcharges and the specific financial fund and the increment, appropriation and regulation of both belong to two different governmental agencies, resulting in certain contradiction when the renewable energy surcharge fails to meet the subsidy fund, and furthermore, the application and approval process of the renewable energy fund is relatively complicated, takes three years generally and forms a long default period, totally due to insufficient subsidy fund. The increased increment now is still not enough to support the large-scale development of renewable energy resources.
Shi Limin also hoped that, first, the increment amount of renewable energy surcharge should be uplifted from the source so as to support the application of large-scale photovoltaic products or renewable energy sources; second, the increment scope of renewable energy surcharge should be further enlarged, such as increment of residential electricity consumption because everyone is responsible for promoting the development of green electricity; third, part of increment for thermal power can be used to support green power. Moreover, further simplifying the approval process of subsidy fund is also an important measure to realize real-time monitoring and support of the renewable energy project in the future.
Wang Bohua also suggested that multiple departments should coordinate and cooperate to solve the insufficient subsidy fund with many measures. The key point is to increase the renewable energy surcharge and simplify the delivery process in combination with the green certificate policy.
In terms of abandoned photovoltaic power, the national photovoltaic power production is 39.2 billion kWh cumulatively in 2015, with the abandoned photovoltaic power volume of about 8 billion kWh, resulting in the ratio of abandoned photovoltaic power of about 20%, and even 31% in some regions of Gansu. At present, the serious problem of abandoned photovoltaic power has greatly impacted the active and healthy development of the photovoltaic industry.
The interviewed industrial specialists also advised that the photovoltaic financing ideas of the United States can be learned from, namely to regard the photovoltaic power station as financial product, rapidly enlarge the scale by virtue of finance lease, joint venture with trust industry funds, fixed increment and other methods and realize quicker expansion by use of asset securitization with improved industrial supporting facilities; regarding abandoned photovoltaic power, the construction of transmission channel and power distribution network can be strengthened to promote external transmission of renewable energy and expand the consumption scope and more energy storage stations can be constructed so as to solve the abandoned photovoltaic power.
led by PVTCS, China's photovoltaic industry has realized upgrading and faster technological progress, followed by continuous decrease of product price which may counteract the influence of power price decrease and electricity limitation. During "the 13th-Year Plan", China's photovoltaic industry is facing various kinds of development dilemmas which will be solved one by one, as all the policy measures supporting the development of the photovoltaic industry are implemented and the national photovoltaic market is improved constantly.