Welcome to Azure International

Azure International is a leading investment and advisory company focused on China's cleantech energy sector. Founded in 2003, we have a team of 20+ local and international professionals based in China with backgrounds in engineering, marketing, manufacturing, consulting, policy, government relations and finance. In addition to deep advisory capabilities in renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon management, and energy finance, we have proven capability to invest in and accelerate the development of clean energy companies.  Our portfolio and partner companies have achieved both significant commercial success and returns to investors. Azure provides the necessary expertise and execution capabilities in China to lead relationship development with government and strategic partners, project execution, sourcing, sales and technology development – all with deep understanding of Chinese and international requirements.

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News Summary:

  • CEC publishes solar installation statistics for 2016
  • State Council publishes National Land Planning Outline 2016-2030
  • China Sunergy to build 400 MW solar module facility in California
  • Green certificate trading program trial rules issued by NDRC

Solar: 2016 Solar Installation Statistics Published by the CEC
The CEC recently published statistics on domestic solar installations for 2016. According to the document, by the end of 2016, over 34 GW of new solar energy had been installed across the country, bringing the total installed capacity to over 77 GW. Total power generation from solar in 2016 was 66 TWh, approximately 1% of national power generation. 28% of new installations occurred in the Northwest area comprising Shaanxi (217 GW), Gansu (76 GW), Ningxia (217 GW), Qinghai (119 GW) and Xinjiang (329 GW). (CEC)


Source: Azure International, CEC

As mentioned in last week's News Update, the frenzied growth in solar in 2016 is largely due to utility scale projects rushing to completion before the large tariff cut in June 2016. However under the Electricity Development Plan, the Solar Power target for 2020 further calls for 60 GW of distributed solar and 5 GW of concentrated solar, with the remaining 45 GW is assumed to be standard utility-scale solar. Thus we expect the next three years to see a moderate cooling of utility scale projects in China as local governments digest current project pipelines. 

On the other hand, current installation figures indicate distributed solar capacity in China is hovering at around only 10 GW. Therefore while the 2020 target of 110 GW target will likely be surpassed, it will be difficult for distributed solar to reach its sub-target of 60 GW, especially as the regions currently driving solar installation figures (Northwest and IMAR) are almost exclusively installing utility scale projects, with distributed projects concentrated more in highly populated east coast provinces. 

Wind: Offshore Wind Development Mentioned in State Council's National Land Planning Outline (2016-2030)
The State Council recently published the National Land Planning Outline for the period covering 2016-2030. The document calls for an acceleration of offshore wind development, while “strictly controlling” development and utilization of China's coastlines. (SC CN)

Large Scale Offshore Wind Farm

Source: HBZhan

While China's offshore wind power is still in early stages of development at 1.9 GW, it has recently seen increased attention from central authorities to meet the 5 GW target in 2020. Currently 52% of China's offshore wind power is concentrated in coastal waters (intertidal zone), however according to the text of the land planning outline, land use for intertidal zone off-shore wind development will likely become more strictly controlled, while projects that do not qualify as intertidal off-shore wind projects will be encouraged.

International: China Sunergy to Build 400 MW Solar Module Facility in California
Chinese solar company China Sunergy has recently signed a lease agreement for property in Sacramento California where it plans to construct a 400 MW solar module production facility. This is CSUN's first plant in North America, and will employ over 200 employees. CSUN's California plant adds to production facilities already in operation in China, South Korea, Turkey and Vietnam. (RenewablesNow)

CSUN is the third Chinese PV manufacturer to establish production sites in the US, after Suntech Power Holdings closed its small module assembly plant in Arizona in 2013. Shunfeng International Clean Energy (SFCE), acquired a majority stake in US based Suniva in 2015, while Chinese manufacturer Seraphim Solar opened a module assembly plant in Jackson, Mississippi in 2016. 

Plan: Green Certificate Trial Measures Issued by NDRC
In order to ease government subsidies to wind and solar sectors, the NDRC will begin issuing green certificates starting July 1st. In a planned trial program, solar and wind power producers will be issued the certificates each worth 1 MWh to sell to private and state owned businesses. Businesses would be encouraged to purchase the certificates as they would be entitled to unspecified payments. Renewable power producers that wish to apply to receive green certificates must already be registered through the Ministry of Finance's list of subsidy recipients, and power producers that sell certificates are no longer eligible to receive subsidies. Lastly, the selling price of the green certificate is capped at the government subsidy price. (NDRC CN)

What we hope the Green Certificates will actually look like
Source: Photo.cn

In order to wean renewables off of government support and to address a substantial subsidy shortfall, introducing green certificates can help alleviate the long-term dependance of new energy companies on government subsidies and reduce the financial burden of local governments. However many issues still exist, mainly how to incentivize businesses to purchase green certificates. Furthermore, finding purchases for green certificates sold from solar power producers will be especially difficult, as solar subsidies are higher than wind subsidies, which will affect the maximum price of the issued green certificates.


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