China May Lift 2020 Solar Target To 150 GW

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Originally published on RenewEconomy

Deutsche Bank analysts say local media reports in China suggest that the country’s 2020 solar power target could be lifted to 150 GW from the current target of 100 GW – meaning more than 20 GW of solar would need to be added in each year from 2016 to 2020.

epa04949363 US President Barack Obama (R) and President of China Xi Jinping (L) hold a joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, DC, USA, 25 September 2015. Obama welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping to the White House with military honours on the South Lawn and praised cooperation between the nations, while insisting he would address differences 'candidly.'  EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
Climate diplomacy: in a another joint announcement from the US and China, president Xi Jinping committed to an emissions trading scheme in 2017. EPA/Michael Reynolds

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 percent of wind and 10 percent of solar generation.

China now proposes a competitive power dispatch that prioritises the emissions-free, 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 that 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.

“So far, there have been 24.1GW of new construction quota approved for 2015, including 17.8GW announced in March, 1GW demonstration projects in Shanxi in June, and 5.3GW announced today; while there is no cap on roof-top distribution projects. Not all the 24.1GW can be connected to grid in 2015, though.”

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Giles Parkinson

is the founding editor of, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.

Giles Parkinson has 596 posts and counting. See all posts by Giles Parkinson

13 thoughts on “China May Lift 2020 Solar Target To 150 GW

  • From what I understand, there is massive disconnect between planning and execution in China. Provinces commission huge capacities when there is no demand for power resulting in curtailment of upto a ridiculous 50%.

    Unless this is sorted out quickly, capacity addition will be meaningless.

    • Isn’t that because, as the article states, the current policy is to curtail RE generation ahead of coal.

      They’ve now switched that, so RE generation will take priority (in theory).

      This should see RE taking more of the capacity, more coal plant shuttered and less coal being burned. Thus less CO2 emitted.

      • True, that was my first thought as well.
        But over site visits in China, my colleagues have been told that the issue of demand of power itself is also a major challenge. Basically the demand isn’t enough to absorb solar production in the province itself. That could ofcourse be an exaggeration but China does have a reputation for overkill in infrastructure spending.

        Besides, it is still a proposal to reverse the current policy of curtailing RE generation. Who knows when it will be implemented and when that will translate to action on the ground.

        • Where did you hear about “the current policy of curtailing RE generation” in China?

          Any link?

          • Much of the curtailment problems in your link are problems of inadequate transmission. Those are solvable.

            China installed wind in some areas before transmission was in place to move the power to market.

            Germany had the same sort of problem with offshore wind for a period.

            Growing pains….

          • Growing pains indeed

          • Looks like the central government is creating some pain for not growing…

            “BEIJING, Sept 29 (Reuters) – China has punished 249 officials for laziness, exemplified by failure to spend government funds, delays to projects and sitting on land earmarked for development, as the government wages war on graft, state news agency Xinhua said.

            Spooked by China’s biggest-ever crackdown on corruption, many officials have preferred in the past 18 months to dither over approvals for major projects, so as to avoid drawing the scrutiny of anti-graft officials.

            That has annoyed Beijing, which has scolded procrastinating local governments for their laziness and repeatedly threatened to punish them by recalling their untouched budgets.

            Xinhua said the 249 officials in 24 provinces, regions or cities had been sacked, or given administrative demotions or warnings after an investigation running from the end of May until the middle of June.”

          • So based on an update from a colleague today, there are structural problems in China.
            Specific to Gansu (my experience is limited to only this state), the province itself has very limited demand with excess capacity. Since 2014, the evacuation was limited only to the provincial grid.

            So its not just the transmission infrastructure, but also localized transmission leading to mismatch in demand and supply. The local developers say the government officials have the mandate to grow the solar capacity even though there is poor grid level connectivity leading to projects being developed but the power not evacuated.

            Obviously, transmission and sorting out these issues is key for China to continue attracting investment.

          • Thanks.

          • PS

            The (PV-glass) anti-reflective coating regulation came only when the glass makers were faced with global client demand to produce this type of glass.


            There were no international standards on the anti reflective coating (which in itself was rel. new in the PV sector).
            When the market started to ask for it the Chinese manufacturers produced it without standards.
            The failure being reported by Bloomberg was to standards which did not exist at the time of manufacturing, a similar issue could be found with EU-manufactured PV panels produced before there were standards set.

            The coating itself would increase the efficiency of the PV panel only by a few percentage points over the years, 2-3% I’ve heard.
            This is no ‘PV-panel failure’ as such, only a lower efficiency.
            The panels resp. the PV-parks keep producing power even if the coating fails.

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