China increases solar power targets to 21 GW by 2015

China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) confirms it has raised the country’s 2015 target for installed solar energy capacity (photovoltaic and concentrating solar power) by 40% to 21GW.

China, the world’s largest exporter of photovoltaic products and home to firms such as Suntech Power and LDK Solar, in August 2011 standardised tariffs for energy fed into the national grid, reducing costs for solar power developers.

Initial documents did not specify individual targets for solar photovoltaics (PV) versus concentrating solar power (CSP). The NEA announced this and other renewable energy goals as part of the 12th Five-Year Plan (FYP) for Renewable Energy Development, as released on August 6th, 2012.

That helped drive an estimated quadrupling of installed solar power capacity to more than 2.0 GW in 2011.

State media has also reported that the country’s biggest energy producers and grid companies will be given minimum requirements for the usage of renewable sources, helping solar firms.

China’s solar thermal market represented 81% of the total global market in 2010, with 49 million square meters installed that year alone. The nation had 168 million square meters of solar thermal collectors installed by the end of the year.

The National Energy Administration’s (NEA) new goal for installed solar capacity is much higher than the 15 GW state media reported late last year, and more than double the 10 GW target set after the Japanese nuclear crisis in March 2011.

The NEA said in a plan published on its website ( that renewable energy would amount to 478 million tonnes of standard coal by 2015, accounting for more than 9.5 per cent of the country’s total energy consumption.

Targets for hydropower capacity remain unchanged at 290 GW at the end of 2015, with 260 GW from normal hydropower plants and 30 GW from pumped storage hydropower stations.

Goals for on-grid wind power have also been kept at 100 GW by the end of 2015, with 5 GW from wind farms on the sea.