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China Ups its Solar Target From 5 to 40 GW by 2015


china solar targetIt’s been quite a bit of a surprise watching China practically double its solar target for 2015 at least three times in the past eighteen months. The obvious trend, in that time, is the realization that solar power is becoming more and more affordable at an alarming rate!

The last 2015 solar target increase for China was back in July, when it had just been increased to 21 GW. Barely two months after that announcement, there was a rumour in September that the target was again going to be reviewed upwards to 40 GW, and we’re finally seeing that reality.

Renew Economy’s Giles Parkinson speculates, “Talk out of China suggests that official bodies in that country are finally ready to lift their target for the deployment of solar to 40GW by 2015.”

He added this fascinating fact: “Just 18 months ago, the 2015 target for 2015 was just 5GW. But more than that has been installed this year alone.” That is to say that 2012 alone has seen the installation in excess of the initial target. Now is that shocking or what?

For starters, this is an indication that China is now more focussed on renewable energy, as part of its growing economy and energy. It is also an indication that solar power is here to stay. With its many advantages, and the fact that prices are now more competitive than ever, the competing alternatives are far behind.

An important reason for the increase in solar energy policies and distribution in China, as noted by the article in Renew Economy, was that there was decrease in solar feed-in prices in Europe, prompting the excess quantity of solar modules and their parts in the country.

In June 2011 the 2015 target was increased to 10 GW from 5 GW, then further increased in December to 15 GW, then to 21 GW in July 2012, and finally to 40 GW presently. With these dramatic increases, would anyone want to stick their neck out for a new the target come Summer 2013?

Looking at the Implications of 40 GW

As in July, how about some perspective in the new 41 GW target? How does it compare with the top 5 countries that have solar PV power capacity installed? Here are the figures for the end of 2011:

Germany — 24.7 GW

Italy — 12.8 GW

Japan — 4.9 GW

Spain — 4.4 GW

USA — 4.4 GW

To put it another way, solar power of 41 GW is a tremendous step.

Solar installations in the US for Q3 ending shattered the record in preceding years with stood at almost 2 GW. The sum of this year’s installations is predicted to reach about 3.2 GW, bringing the overall solar capacity of the US in excess of 7 GW. On Tuesday, that looked like a lot, but with China expected to hit 4.5 GW by end of year, that’s a definite rise.

That brings to mind China’s 2020 target of 20 GW back in the day when its target for 2015 was 5 GW.  For the implications on that front, only time will tell.

To conclude and further put things into perspective, China’s 2015 target, is only a target, as the aim is actually to exceed that target by a fair amount. The expectations just keep going up!

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