China Confirms 14 GW Solar Target For 2014

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Originally published on RenewEconomy.
By Sophie Vorath

China has upgraded its target for national solar installations for 2014, raising it to 14GW from 10GW, the target that was previously set by the state energy regulator, in January.

Chinese solar farm
A solar farm in China.
Image Credit: zhu difeng.

Deutsche Bank reports that China’s National Energy Administration published a statement on its website on Wednesday revealing the new amount of new solar capacity that would be eligible for incentives, 6GW of which would be targeted for utility scale, 8GW for distributed generation.

Quotas have also been set for individual provinces, and projects exceeding a region’s quota will not get a subsidy, according to the announcement.

Eastern provinces of Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang received the highest quota of 1.2GW each, reports Deutsche Bank. And if grids are unable to absorb the power generated, the agency may reduce the quotas.

The new target is consistent with many analyst predictions, after a record year in 2013, when China added 12GW of solar power in 2013, doubling its rate of solar installations. Before this, no country had ever added more than 8GW of solar power in one year.

“The 2013 figures show the astonishing scale of the Chinese market, now the sleeping dragon has awoken,” said Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at BNEF in a press release in January.

“PV is becoming ever cheaper and simpler to install, and China’s government has been as surprised as European governments by how quickly it can be deployed in response to incentives.”

To keep this in perspective, China added a total of just over 100GW of new power generation capacity in 2013 – an amount larger than the entire electricity capacity of the UK or South Korea, according to BNEF.

And while coal remains China’s main power source, with 39.7GW installed last year, hydro contributed the next largest increase, with 30.5GW added in 2013, while wind saw 14.1GW added.

Deutsche analysts say they are confident China can reach the new 14GW solar target for 2014, but warn that it will result in further upward pressure on pricing in the industry.

“Given several planned poly expansions coming online over the next 1-2 years and rising prices, we believe further long term agreements between poly and module suppliers are likely,” said a Deutsche report.

“We believe the tier 1 module suppliers are well positioned to capitalize on the domestic market and expand their installation business in the process.”

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6 thoughts on “China Confirms 14 GW Solar Target For 2014

  • It Feb 15, about 10% into 2014 and the goal is raised from 10 to 14GW. Anyone taking bets that it will be raised again? The distributed doesn’t required long distance transmission upgrades, so all they would have to do is say “distributed projects exceeding a region’s quota will STILL get a subsidy”.

    • China has met and raised their wind goals before. More than once.

      If I were to bet, I’d bet they install more solar than their stated goal. They seem to set goals they can meet rather than set goals hard to meet.

    • Really? The total is broken down into quotas by province. Since problems are bound to arise in more than one province, the structure makes a global undershoot very likely. This is a pretty conservative announcement given the astonishing 2013 total of 12 GW. The obvious candidate for the explanation is grid connection problems in remote provinces like Xinkiang. It’s possible, as Matt says, that the targets will be uprated mid-year if all goes spectacularly well with the shift to distributed, but have the Chinese ever done anything like this before?

      • Well no country every install 8GW in a year until China did 12GW in 2013. Will every province make their goal? Maybe not, but will China make 14GW, that I think is likely.

  • So that’s 56GW total renewables to 40GW coal – that’s good, very good. But that’s still a whole lotta coal – that’s bad, very bad. Let’s hope not just China but the whole world can overtake coal completely, and soon.

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