Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

China Has Already More Than Doubled Its 2020 Solar Power Target

Energy
China Has Already More Than Doubled Its 2020 Solar Power Target
A 1500 volt solar power plant in China. Sungrow

By Jing Yan and Lauri Myllyvirta

China has more than doubled its end-of-decade solar power target, with new installations dramatically outstripping expectation, according to the government's energy agency.

By the end of July this year, China's solar PV capacity topped 112GW, after installing a stunning 35GW in just seven months—more than twice as much as installed by any other country in all of 2016.


As a result, total solar PV capacity now exceeds the government's 2020 goal of 105GW, set as recently as last year.

This could have created a very confusing situation for the industry—after years of record-setting installations, there was no target to hit—but the National Energy Administration (NEA) responded by setting new, ambitious annual installation targets.

These targets would take capacity to 213GW in 2020—which is five times larger than current capacity of the U.S.

That would mean covering an area of land equivalent to greater London—1500km2—with solar panels.

Current growth rates suggest China could even surpass that new, higher target.

Wind is also doing well

China is on track to install at least 110.4 GW in onshore wind capacity over the next three years.

This would increase the country's cumulative wind power installation by 2020 to about 264 GW, far exceeding the original target of 210GW set during the 13th Five-Year Plan period.

It's also considerably more than the total wind power capacity of all of Europe (and that's including the UK).

New targets

That's not all the new targets imply.

By 2020, China is aiming to build 54.5GW of large-scale solar projects—PV stations, and agriculture and husbandry combinations.

That alone surpasses the total solar capacity of both the UK and Germany combined.

In addition there will be 8GW of new showcase projects that use higher efficiency solar PV every year.

The new target reflects the huge potential for distributed solar—electricity that is produced at the same spot where it is used. Under the new regulation, there are no limitations on the installation of distributed renewables, meaning innovations like rooftop solar panels are on track to soar.

Over the past year, distributed solar installations have shot up.

According to NEA statistics, 7.11 GW of distributed solar PV was added in the first half of 2017, an approximately threefold increase year-on-year.

The astounding growth of wind and solar power in China means that the country is on track to generate Germany's total electricity consumption from these sources by 2020. Generation from wind and solar would amount to around nine percent of China's own consumption, up from 5.2 percent last year.

Curtailment

But it's not all rosy.

China's wind and solar power sectors are still battling a huge curtailment crisis.

In the first half of 2017, the national wind curtailment rate stood at 13.6 percent, with solar curtailment in five northwest provinces at 15.5 percent.

The NEA's new targets, however, acknowledge the problem and take two key steps to tackle it.

First, provinces with serious wind and solar curtailment problems, such as the western provinces Gansu, Xinjiang and Ningxia, are not permitted to install more capacity.

This should have the effect of nudging these province's governments towards effectively utilising the enormous capacity they have already installed.

And that will mean challenging coal's dominance in the energy mix.

Second, seven provinces, including Beijing and Shanghai, are allowed to install as much solar capacity as they want with the important caveat that the new capacity does not cause curtailment in these areas.

That suggests China could in fact smash its own 2020 solar target. Again.

A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A plastic bag caught in a tree in New Jersey's Palisades Park. James Leynse / Stone / Getty Images

New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.

Read More Show Less
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on Sept. 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington comforts Marsha Maus, 75, whose home was destroyed during California's deadly 2018 wildfires, on March 11, 2019 in Agoura Hills, California. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Governor Jay Inslee

Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.

In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.

Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch