China raises Solar Energy Capacity Target to 50 GW from 20 GW in 2020
China’s Solar Panel Manufactures have enjoyed a massive boom phase though domestic solar electric capacity has failed to keep up.China has been rewriting its renewable energy plan in the wake of the Fukushima Nuclear Energy Disaster in Japan.Note there has been a strong global backlash against nuclear energy around the world and 7 nuclear plants in Germany have been closed all but in name.Other countries like South Korea,Italy,Switzerland are rethinking of what do about their nuclear reactors giving the massive tail risks with nuclear generation.China had a target of only 20 GW of solar by 2020 has decided to raise the target by 150% to 50 GW according to the country’s leading energy planning authority NDRC.Note China installed more than 15 GW of Wind Energy in 2010 alone becoming the world’s largest Wind Energy Market by far.Solar Energy strongly lags Wind in China despite China having the biggest solar panel manufacturing industry in the world.Its Golden Sun and other Solar Subsidy programs have been small in absolute terms compared to its huge electricity capacity.Note Wind Power in China has reached a saturation level with almost 18 GW installed in 2010 ,with such a high level further growth looks quite difficult.
Note earlier notifications of increasing subsidies to Solar Energy in China were more posturing than real substance.Currently China has around 1-2 GW of Solar Energy Capacity.The new target would imply a roughly 5 GW of Solar Energy Capacity to be installed each year which would easily rival that of top solar countries like Germany.Currently the Chinese Solar Market has little competition with the giant state owned utilities winning most of the solar project auctions at absurdly cheap rates.
Feed in Tariffs still a Dream?
China has not enacted a national Feed in Tariff like Germany because of the high costs.However with prices of solar panels falling almsot 65% in the last 3 years,this was expected to change.China has instead adopted solar project auctions and state governments have their own program rather than Feed in Tariffs.China has been rumored for a long time to mandate a law to provide for a higher electricity rates for renewable energy production (Feed in Tariff) . First Solar the largest solar company in the world had signed an agreement with the Chinese government for setting up a gargantuan 2 GW plant in Mongolia based on the promise that the Chinese govt would set up a FIT for solar energy.However China has been procrastinating on this issue since a long time .China desperately needs clean technology while US firms need market access to the huge Chinese market.