China has set a target of creating 3 GW of concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) by 2020

China has set a target of creating 1 GW of concentrated solar energy (CSP) by 2015, a government plan showed Friday, as part of its efforts to expand the use of alternative energy sources.

Driven by commodity prices and concerns over air pollution, China has been aggressively investing in the renewable energy sector, reports South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

According to the Chinese government’s development blueprint for the 2011-2015 period, the country will establish Concentrating Solar Power plants in four districts — Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Gansu, Shinjang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Tibet.

Concentrating Solar Thermal Power plants produce electric power by converting the sun’s energy into high-temperature heat using various mirror configurations. The heat is then channeled through a conventional generator.

The Chinese government plans to expand its concentrated solar energy capacity to 3 GW by 2020. China has recently emerged as the world’s dominant player of solar power. Many of the world’s biggest solar panel manufacturers, such as Suntech, Trina Solar and Hanwha Solar One, are based in China.

The low costs of Chinese solar thermal panels led them to account for almost 40 percent of the world’s market in 2010 up from almost zero percent in 2005.

The growth in the Chinese solar industry is attributed to the government’s supportive policies, low labour and capital costs, and aggressive competition.

By José Santamarta,