China has overtaken Germany in 2015 in terms of solar PV capacity, according to data from China’s Photovoltaic Industry Association.
Reported by China’s state-run media outlet, Xinhua News, the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) reported that China added 15 GW of solar PV capacity during 2015, a 40% increase on 2014 numbers, bringing the country’s total solar PV capacity up to 43 GW.
Meanwhile, according to Germany’s Federal Network Agency and Fraunhofer ISE, Germany only installed 1.3 GW in 2015, reaching roughly 40 GW (reported by way of Reuters).
“Many PV companies began to turn a profit last year thanks to the government’s positive stance on green and innovative energy production and investment,” said CPIA secretary general Wang Bohua, who added that technology research and development, as well as company financing, required more attention, and that 2016 would likely see policies related to PV power grid connection and subsidies.
China is aiming to increase its non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 15% of total primary energy consumption, with the country’s National Energy Administration predicting China’s solar PV capacity will reach 150 GW by 2020.
The PV Market Alliance reported earlier this month that global solar PV installations reached at least 51 GW during 2015, accurately reporting that China had installed 15 GW. At the same time, Tim Buckley from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) reported that China’s electricity demand growth had slowed to only 0.5% in 2014, that coal consumption had dropped 5% and coal imports had dropped by 35%. Part of this drop in coal has been the parallel increase in renewable energy within China, which has resulted in coal-fired power generation declining by an estimated 4% during 2015.
All of which places China on the road to an impressive solar PV industry over the next few years — especially if national policies can be implemented to further shore up the future of the industry.