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China eyes domestic market to boost solar industry

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BEIJING, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- China's top energy agency has asked local authorities to make plans for establishing distributed photovoltaic generation demonstration centers as part of efforts to boost the domestic solar industry amid mounting trade frictions with the United States and the European Union.

Each provincial-level region may apply to establish no more than three solar energy demonstration areas with a total installed capacity not exceeding 500,000 kilowatts, according to a statement issued by the National Energy Administration.

The first batch of demonstration projects will be concentrated in the country's central and eastern coastal areas, including the major cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai, the statement said.

The move represents the government's latest attempt to wean the domestic solar industry off its dependence on overseas markets, said analysts with Shenyin & Wanguo Securities.

During the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), China will install distributed power photovoltaic generation systems providing 10 million kilowatts of installed power capacity, according to the 12th Five-Year Plan on solar power development issued by the administration in early September.

The plan states that investment in distributed solar power generation is expected to reach 150 billion yuan (23.81 billion U.S. dollars) by 2015.

China's photovoltaic industry has seen challenges rise this year, as the U.S. and EU, China's two main export markets, launched anti-dumping probes into the country's solar exports earlier in the year.

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