Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Taiwan May Cut Feed-in-Tariffs for Solar

 Taiwan may cut the feed-in tariffs paid to generators of solar power next year because of the lower cost of installing equipment that converts sunlight to energy, a government official said.

The island may increase the payments to producers of wind power, whose costs are increasing, Su Jin-sheng, a director of Bureau of Energy, said in an interview in Taipei today. The government plans to announce the rates for 2011 before the end of the year, he said.

Solar cell prices may decline 10 percent to 15 percent next year, according to Chang Ping-heng, chief executive officer of Motech Industries Inc., Taiwan’s biggest solar cell maker by market value. Global annual capacity to produce solar cells may climb to as much as 30 gigawatts next year, Chang said Dec. 1. The estimate exceeds 2011 global demand projection from technology researcher Isuppli by about 55 percent.

Feed-in tariffs, or the prices that state-run utility Taiwan Power Co. pays generators, are at least NT$11.12 (37 cents) per kilowatt-hour for photovoltaic solar panels and NT$2.38 for wind farms, the energy bureau said in a statement on its website in December last year. That compares with an average cost of NT$2.06 per kilowatt-hour for fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

Taiwan’s government has set minimum wholesale prices for electricity generated by solar panels and wind turbines at higher levels than for those for power from fossil fuels to spur production of renewable energy. President Ma Ying-jeou, who took office in May 2008, has pledged to cut emissions to 2000 levels by 2025. Lawmakers approved the island’s Renewable Energy Development Act last year.


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