2015 was a good year for China’s renewable energy ambitions, with the country leading global markets for several renewable energy technologies.
According to new figures published by global research and consulting firm GlobalData, China helped push global renewable installed capacity to an estimated 913.48 GW in 2015, leading the way in annual capacity additions for solar, biopower, small hydropower, and onshore wind. Specifically, China’s increasing solar power capacity is intended to drive home the country’s ambitious renewable energy targets while driving down the country’s greenhouse gas emissions levels.
GlobalData further predicts that, after increasing from 796.8 GW in 2014, and rising to 913.48 GW in 2015, renewable energy capacity is forecast to expand to 1,511.23 GW in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 11.3% during the 2014-2020 period.
“China became the largest consumer of solar PV modules in 2014, overtaking both Japan and the US,” explained Ankit Mathur, GlobalData’s Practice Head for Power. “China’s annual solar PV installations have grown rapidly over the past few years, from 500 Megawatts in 2010, to 10.6 GW in 2014, and an estimated 18.43 GW in 2015.
“In 2014, Japan and the US stood second and third, with annual solar PV installations of about 10 GW and 6.2 GW, respectively. However, both countries added an estimated 8.2 GW each in 2015.”
“Although reasonable doubts have been cast over China’s challenging targets, it has outdone self-assigned targets in the past,” Mathur continued. “China previously set a target of 15 GW of solar additions for 2015, and amended this target to 17.8 GW in March, which it eventually surpassed.
“However, China failed to meet the third revised annual target, set in September of 23.1 GW, and it remains to be seen if the country can achieve the ambitious goal of 150 GW of solar PV capacity by 2020.”
GlobalData’s report, Global Renewable Energy Recap 2015, reiterates what many analysts have been saying for several months, namely, that while major markets in Europe and North America will continue to expand their own renewable energy markets, it will be developing markets such as China which have shown the largest commitment to increasing renewable energy capacity, “driven by an increasing global emphasis on policies tackling climate change.”
China will obviously continue to remain the largest of these ’emerging markets’, joined by smaller, though no-less significant markets in India, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Brazil, Vietnam, and Indonesia.