China could raise 2020 solar target by 50GW to 150GW – necessitating 20GW of new solar per year

Reports from China suggest the country could lift its 2020 solar target from 100GW to 150GW, meaning more than 20GW of solar would need to be added in each year from 2016 – 2020.

The reports come as China president Xi Jinping pledged during a visit to the US and meetings with President Barack Obama to introduce a nation-wide emissions trading scheme in 2017, and give priority to renewable energy installations.

As the Rocky Mountain Institute noted on Monday, China has historically had dispatch quotas on fossil generation, often leading to curtailment of renewables and the running of inefficient coal plants. In the first half of 2015 this has led to curtailment of 15 per cent of wind and 10 per cent of solar generation.

China now proposes a competitive power dispatch that prioritises the near-zero marginal dispatch cost of renewables. RMI says this should result in an immediate reduction of 200 million metric tons of carbon emissions per year, but more importantly, supports the economic expansion of renewables.

China is not the only one considering a big boost to its targets for solar and other renewable energy sources. India is reportedly going to announce this week that it will aim for a 40 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, which would require some 250GW of solar and some 100GW of wind energy.

Brazil earlier this week said it will lift its share of non-hydro renewable energy to 23 per cent by 2030, from 15 per cent now. Total renewables, including hydro, will account for 40 per cent of power production. Even Bangladesh is looking to install 5GW of solar.

Deuutche Bank says the key to meeting the raised target will be financing and “normalisation” of the subsidy payment that is currently being delayed.

Deutsche Bank estimates China will install around 15GW of solar in 2015 and 20GW in 2016.  It noted that China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) announced this week an additional construction quota of 5.3GW for solar power projects in 2015, mainly released to provinces which made good progress in solar farm construction.

© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson

Giles Parkinson regularly contributes unique content to Solar Choice News. Giles is the founder and editor of clean energy industry news service RenewEconomy. He is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the founding editor of Climate Spectator.
Giles Parkinson