China cools solar power drive

China cools solar power drive
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China has moved to curb new solar capacity. Above, Chinese fishermen casting a net next to a photovoltaic power station built on top of fish ponds in Yangzhou, in China’s eastern Jiangsu province. (AFP)
China cools solar power drive
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China has moved to curb new solar capacity. Above, Chinese employees working on a floating solar power plant in Huainan, a former coal-mining region, in China’s eastern Anhui province. (AFP)
China cools solar power drive
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China has moved to curb new solar capacity. Above, Chinese fishermen next to a photovoltaic power station built on top of fish ponds in Yangzhou, in China’s eastern Jiangsu province. (AFP)
China cools solar power drive
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China has moved to curb new solar capacity. Above, Chinese fishermen next to a photovoltaic power station built on top of fish ponds in Yangzhou, in China’s eastern Jiangsu province. (AFP)
Updated 17 January 2019

China cools solar power drive

China cools solar power drive
  • China announced last year that it would suspend new projects after a record 53 GW capacity increase in 2017 left it struggling to find spare grid capacity
  • China is also aiming to gradually phase out direct financial support to the solar industry after a decline in costs

SHANGHAI: China put just over 43 gigawatts (GW) of new solar generation capacity into operation in 2018, down 18 percent from a year earlier, an industry group said on Thursday, after a government move to curb new capacity and ease a subsidy payment backlog.
The new generation took the country’s total installed solar power capacity to more than 170 GW by the end of the year, the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) said.
China announced last year that it would suspend new projects after a record 53 GW capacity increase in 2017 left it struggling to find spare grid capacity and pay a renewable subsidy backlog amounting to more than 140 billion yuan ($20.69 billion) last year.
China is also aiming to gradually phase out direct financial support to the solar industry after a decline in costs, announcing last week that it would launch a series of new subsidy-free projects.

 

 But solar manufacturers are already feeling the pinch, and warned last year they were facing closure after a surge in new production capacity in previous years sent component prices plummeting.
“Facing a lot of complicated domestic and overseas trends, the sector as a whole is under big pressures and substandard producers are expected to promptly exit the market,” said Wang Bohua, CPIA vice-chairman, in a speech on Thursday.
Wang said output of solar equipment continued to increase in 2018 despite the decline in new domestic capacity, with solar module production up 14.3 percent to an equivalent of 85.7 GW.
Much of the surplus production was diverted to overseas markets, with solar component export earnings rising 10.9 percent from a year earlier to $16.11 billion, Wang said, according to a transcript published on CPIA’s official WeChat social media account.
China’s solar manufacturers have been accused of using subsidies to drive down prices and put foreign competitors out of business, but they claim they have been the beneficiary of a fierce competitive environment forcing them to reduce costs.
The US imposed tariffs on China’s solar products last year, and its share of China’s exports fell from 5.9 percent in 2017 to 0.24 percent in 2018. The bulk of China’s overseas shipments went to India, South East Asia and Europe.

FASTFACTS

170 gigawatts — China’s total installed solar power capacity


German startup to help Saudi hotels utilize empty spaces

German start-up NeuSpace, established during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to help hotels overcome a slump in occupancy rates, is now working in Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
German start-up NeuSpace, established during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to help hotels overcome a slump in occupancy rates, is now working in Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
Updated 21 January 2021

German startup to help Saudi hotels utilize empty spaces

German start-up NeuSpace, established during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to help hotels overcome a slump in occupancy rates, is now working in Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
  • COVID-19 pandemic has brought slump in average hotel occupancy rates in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A German start-up established during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to help hotels overcome a slump in occupancy rates is now working in Saudi Arabia.

NeuSpace aims to assist operators in coming up with new ways to generate revenue from their empty spaces.

Anne Schaeflein, a co-founder of the Dusseldorf-based company, told Arab News: “For hotel properties still in the completion phase, we feel it is best to evaluate the perspective, and to diversify pre-opening.

“To be empathic to the existing (or planned) infrastructure and environment of the location, we run a feasibility study and look at how the space could be best used from an ROI (return on investment) as well as community perspective. Turning function spaces into day nurseries, delis, and bakeries,” she said.

Anne Schaeflein, Collaborative Founder NeuSpace. (Supplied)

According to the company’s website, it aims to address the needs of hotel investors, operators, and the wider community surrounding the property.

“We deliver quick solutions to retain some of the hospitality jobs, and add others, and offer attractive living space for communities, all within one to four months, depending on the individual projects,” the company said.

A report in November by global hotel data analysis company, STR, found that the average occupancy rate in Saudi Arabia was 34.7 percent, down 38.7 percent on the previous year. As a result, the average revenue per available room fell 35.5 percent year-on-year to SR172.70 ($46.05).

Looking to the future, real estate consultancy firm, Colliers International, has forecast that average occupancy rates in Riyadh and Alkhobar will be 55 percent, 51 percent in Jeddah and Madinah, and 37 percent in Makkah.

On innovative solutions, Schaeflein said the startup’s concept was formed around the key pillars of value preservation, creating new housing space, and innovative housing concepts.

She pointed out that the company looked at how areas such as roof gardens or social spaces could be used by the wider community, or how pools and spas not being used by guests could be utilized by local residents.

NeuSpace also studies how back-office services and facilities could be offered to residents to better utilize staffing levels. This could include offering dog-minding services, turning rooms into office or retail areas, or renting out restaurant and entertainment spaces when footfall was low.