The Chinese government started a pilot program to provide technological support, subsidies and market pull to solar-power projects, aiming to boost the solar industry as a new growth point for the country's economy, state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Energy on Tuesday made a joint statement of the start of the Golden Sun pilot program, which indicates the possibility of the fast growth of China's photovoltaic generation market.

The Ministry of Finance said on its website that it will offer 50% of investments for solar power projects of more than 500 megawatts and the transmission and distribution network over the next two to three years. The solar power projects in the remote regions will receive subsidies of 70% of the investment.

The total generating capacity of such pilot projects in each province should not exceed 20 megawatts, the ministry said.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) official earlier this year said that the academy had organized academicians and experts to make an action plan and will set up a platform to support scientific innovations involving solar energy.

The boost of the development of solar energy technology aims to turn it into a major energy source in China by 2050, the CAS said.

They said that the use of solar energy could effectively reduce the discharge of green-house gases.

The United States, Japan and European countries began to develop solar energy in the 1970s.

Government investment has greatly promoted solar energy research and development, especially in Japan, Germany and Australia.

Germany had promoted the solar energy family program, and fixed solar energy facilities on the roofs of a large number of homes. Japan launched a program to polarize the use of solar energy, and to cut the price of solar energy by half within three to five years.

By the end of 2008, the yearly capacity of solar power in China had reached 2,000 megawatts, making 30% of the global output. However, 98% of the solar power produced in China was exported abroad as there was no government support for domestic companies to use it.

Analyst said the pilot program would push powerfully the commercial application of solar power in China with the benefit of the great government financial incentives.