Suntech’s Manufacturing Unit Pressured Towards Bankruptcy
In the latest twist in the solar industry’s consolidation story, numerous Chinese banks have pleaded the local courts to initiate insolvency and restructuring for Suntech Power Holdings’ main manufacturing subsidiary Wuxi Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. The company says it will not object the plea. Suntech Power emphasized that the parent company and other principal operating subsidiaries are not involved in these insolvency proceedings. Suntech Power has other production facilities at other subsidiaries in Wuxi, Shanghai, and Luoyang, and says that it will continue to meet customer orders. Likely next steps, according to the company, are court-appointed administrators to administer restructuring, including negotiating with bank lenders and creditors.
Salvation for India’s Wind Industry as GBI Returns
The wind industry in India heaved a sigh of relief with the reinstatement of the Generation-Based Incentive (GBI). Some US$147 million will now be allocated in its 2013-2014 budget. The government will also present low-interest loans for wind projects through the National Clean Energy Fund. The government had voided this subsidy in April 2012, causing dire consequences for the wind sector. Indian wind developers had to look to international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Export-Import Bank for funding. But with the re-integration of the GBI just this February, Indian wind indeed has a lot to cheer about.
Florida’s Broward County Simplifies Acquisition of Solar Energy Permits
Broward County has taken a big leap to cut costs for solar-panel systems on rooftops of homeowners and businesses. With aid from a $673,000 federal grant, Broward has simplified the application process for permits for roof-top solar-panel systems, saving time and money. Click on a website, select one of several pre-approved designs, and you can get the go-ahead online for that installation in select areas in the county. In some cases, the process can all be done electronically in a few minutes, instead of a few weeks. This change is key as it will indeed attract more solar energy installs within the county.
Arizona Moves Towards an Incentive-Free Solar
In February 2013, the Arizona Corporation Commission suddenly announced extreme cuts to renewable energy incentive programs in the state. Commercial production-based incentives have been removed entirely and residential incentives have been cut down to a fraction of their former levels. Those within the industry have been quick to drop comments criticizing the Commission’s decision. However, outside the impact on installed capacity, Arizona’s renewable energy policies will also give industry stake holders a unique learning opportunity regarding the viability of incentive-free solar. By reducing subsidies in the name of fiscal discipline while simultaneously maintaining a strong RES target, Arizona has cogently taken the training wheels off of the solar industry and is now expecting solar installations to continue with minimal state support.