Clean Power

Published on January 8th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Shunfeng Aims For 10,000 MW Of Solar PV Projects By 2016 (That’s A Lot!)

January 8th, 2014 by  

shunfeng solarIt’s no secret — China is installing solar power faster than you can say “Bob’s your uncle.” The recently announced goal of one large Chinese solar developer is just another indication of that, but it’s certainly a big one. Shunfeng Photovoltaic says that it is now aiming to install 20,000 megawatts (MW) of solar power capacity by 2016. To put that into perspective, the largest solar PV power plant in the world is 600 MW in size, and the next behind it is currently about half that size. All but a dozen or so solar PV power plants are less than 100 MW in size. So… 10,000 MW by 2016 is huge.

Shunfeng is apparently already to 890 MW. So, just another 9,110 MW in ~3 years. “We aim to add 3GW in each of this year, next year and 2016, so that by the end of 2016 we will have 10 GW,” Shunfeng chairman Zhang Yi recently told the South China Morning Post. Good luck to the company!

If you follow the solar module industry closely, Shunfeng may ring a bell. The company is in the process of purchasing Suntech’s manufacturing armWuxi Suntech was formerly the largest solar module company in the world — until it ran into a number of controversies and ended up bankrupt. Its solar production capacity totals ~2,500 MW.

An integrated solar company of that size could certainly take advantage of China’s strong solar power growth targets. We’ll see if it succeeds and hits its 10,000 MW target.

According to Yi, Shufeng is able to achieve returns as high as 15% on its solar power projects.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Tom G.

    Hi Zachary: Please do not consider my comments negative. I am a huge supporter of renewable energy systems. However, 10,000 MW in not “A Lot”. Please let me

    There are many people in America that really don’t have a very good understanding of just how much energy we use. Here is a website some of your readers might want to visit and just click around on for a while. Be sure to click on SUPPLY AND DEMAND in the center of the page to see some graphs. It can be fun to just see how a typical grid management system works. Pretty amazing how accurate they can project the energy needed isn’t it.

    Just for the fun of it, lets take little closer look at this piece of the California grid. Today the grid operator is projecting a peak load of about 29,870 MW. So is
    10,000 MW of solar PV a lot? Why YES it is if all of that 10,000 MW existed on that grid consistently over time. It would amount to about 1/3 of the total peak load for this winter day. But for a summer day when everyone has their AC units on – well maybe not so much, LOL. But as everyone knows solar starts producing energy when the sun comes up in the morning, peaks about noonish and shuts itself
    down at dusk. Solar PV in my opinion should really be considered a variable peaking energy source which is reality what it is. In any case, at one point in time, it is about 1/3 of the total energy needed for that specific grid on that specific day.

    But so far we are only talking about the California CAISO grid. What about all of the other grids in America. Your readers can go to the below website and click around to get a better understanding of how much energy America really uses.

    But for readers who don’t have time to just sit around clicking on a website; a couple of examples might be in order. Peak demand on the New York NYISO grid is about 29,781 MW. The peak demand on the Southeast ISO is 194,556 MW according to the FERC website above. Everyone can do the math but the total is 224,337 MW. So what percentage is our 10,000 MW of intermittent solar power of the total? Oh wait – we haven’t added in all of the other grids yet, LOL.

    It doesn’t take people very long before they begin to realize that the metric [the measuring tool] of Megawatts [MW] needs to be expressed in Gigawatts [GW] and then in Terawatts [TW] and that is where most Americans leave the discussion, LOL. Its like talking about the National Debt. For most people its just too darn big to comprehend the numbers.

    So is 10,000 MW a lot? Well yes it is when you consider that about all you have to do is sit a bunch of solar panels in the sun or put some on your roof and every morning after that they start making electricity when the sun comes up. But in the grand scheme of things, that 10,000 MW is just a drop in a huge bucket we need to fill up before we can have clean air to breath and water to drink. Without a
    concerted effort on the part of every American and the government representative we elect, it might take us at least another 20 to 50 years before renewable energy systems become a significant contributor to our national grids at our current rate of deployment.

    Achieving the goal of clean air to breath and water to drink for everyone seems to keep getting pushed further and further off into some future time and that my fellow Americans worries me.

    Someday we will probably look back at this 10,000 MW and realize that is was only meant to be just enough to replace the worn out panels that fail early for some unknown reason. Unfortunately, if we don’t get our act together soon, we may never know the answer to that question.

    • A Real Libertarian

      10,000 MW is a lot.

      If you disagree, please explain how 10 GW in 3 years from 1 company isn’t a lot?

      • Tom G.

        To A Real Libertarian:

        I don’t view the term “a lot” as a very precise term. If I were to drink say 6 bottles of beer that might be considered by some people to be “a lot” of beer. However since the length of time it took me to drink those beers was never mentioned, it might not actually be “a lot” if it took say 30 days. So now we have created another variable which is “time”.

        Its about the same with solar. Solar PV has a capacity factor of about 25% give or take a few percent [over time]. So 25% of 10,000 MW is about 2500 MW depending on a whole lot of other variables. That puts this amount of solar power in about the same category as one [1] large two [2] unit nuclear power plant. However, if I were to compare that 10,000 MW of solar to say three or four coal plants I would take the solar every time.

        O.K so did I answer your question “if you disagree, please explain…”. I don’t think I did. To me “a lot” is still a “subjective term”. Its like opinions, we all have at least one and sometimes those opinions are difficult if not impossible to define.

        Have a great day and thank you for your comment. .

    • Bob_Wallace

      How about “a lot compared to how much we had before”?

      We’re all well aware that solar is still providing less than 1% of our total electricity. But the first 1% is the hard one. Installation rates are accelerating. Prices are falling which will further fuel acceleration.
      Getting off fossil fuels is a multi-decade job. Even if we became very, very serious it would probably take us 20 years. But we’ve started….

      • Tom G.

        “But we’ve started …”.

        Yes and thank goodness we have.

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