China has a habit of increasing its solar power targets. I think it’s done so 3 times in the past year and a half. Its initial 2015 target of about 5 GW has been quadrupled to 21 GW in that time (see the link above for more info on that). Now, Giles Parkinson and Sophie Vorrath of Renew Economy indicate that China’s doubling its solar PV target yet again:
China is about to double its targeted installation rate for solar PV for the second time in as many months, and now expects more than 40GW to be installed by 2015.
According to Deutsche Bank, this target was confirmed by a source “familiar with the matter”, and added that an officer at the National Energy Administration, who also confirmed that there will be no caps on the new added capacity, as had been speculated elsewhere.
The new forecast is in fact the fourth upgrade of the target for solar PV for China’s 12th five-year plan, the country’s official economic blueprint. Just 18 months ago, it was set at 5GW, but that is expected to be the rate of installation in calendar 2012 alone. It was doubled to 10GW, then to 20GW, and now 40GW.
The upgrade to China’s 2015 forecast means that its 2020 forecast will also have to be lifted, most likely to at least 100GW from its current level of 50GW.
That would represent a more than three-fold increase in its forecasts for 2020 made just a year ago, but it reflects the fact that the cost of solar PV continues to fall sharply, and is now a cheaper option in China than peaking power plants, and at the retail and commercial level. Chinese government officials have said that solar PV will offer cheaper wholesale prices – and energy security – than coal or gas by the end of the decade.
The higher forecast for 2015 shouldn’t come as a surprise. China’s installation rate is estimated by some to be around 7GW this year. If that rate was continued until 2015, that would mean at least 30GW by then, even without an increase.
The Deutsche Bank report, quoting the same sources, said that China will focus on large-scale on-grid solar plants, which will be mainly constructed in the Qinghai, Gansu, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia regions. Some projects have already been canvassed that could comprise facilities of 1,000 megawatts or more.
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