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New rates may benefit solar industry

It hasn't been a good year for China's solar energy industry. First the US slapped Chinese panel makers with huge anti-dumping tariffs and then trade officials in the EU launched their own anti-dumping investigation into the industry a few weeks later.

While obstacles mounted overseas, many were quick to lament that the industry had grown too quickly and was oriented too much toward the export market. Many also urged the government to drum up demand for panels here at home in order to help the troubled solar industry.

Actually, a recent modification to energy prices may soon prop up panel sales here in the domestic market.

China recently implemented a tiered electricity pricing system which will charge home owners who consume more energy a higher rate per kilowatt-hour. This new tiered scheme will encourage residents to save power and reduce wasteful energy use. It could also dramatically push up sales of energy-efficient consumer goods, such as roof-mounted water heaters that use solar panels.

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