Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Posts Tagged ‘planet’

Good News For The Planet: China Quadrupling Domestic Solar Installations

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 5, 2012

China’s largely doing this to absorb excess solar-panel production so global solar panel prices don’t keep dropping (they’re currently at 87 cents a watt, competitive with coal), but it’s still a good thing that the world’s biggest user of coal, the world’s dirtiest form of energy, is going to seriously ramp up its commitment to domestic solar usage:

China, the biggest supplier of solar power panels, quadrupled a domestic installation goal for sun- derived energy projects to 21 gigawatts by 2015 to help absorb excess supply of panels and support prices.

The target includes 1 gigawatt of solar-thermal power plants, Shi Lishan, deputy director of the administration’s renewable energy division, said by phone today. The plan will be issued “soon,” he said.

China had planned 5 gigawatts of capacity in the five years through 2015 and 20 gigawatts by 2020. The government has considered an increase since last year as solar panel makers led by Suntech Power Holdings Co. and Trina Solar Ltd. suffer from cuts in European subsidies and a global supply glut that drove prices lower.

“With a significant tumble in photovoltaic prices, the timetable for mass use is ahead of time,” said Lian Rui, a senior analyst for the research company Solarbuzz. “The new target is still very conservative; we expect the installation to surpass 30 gigawatts.”

Considering China’s energy consumption now stands at 389 gigawatts, getting domestic solar installs up to 21 gigawatts may not seem like much, but remember that a little over a decade ago China had no solar industry at all, much less any domestic solar installations. Combined with the growth of domestic wind power (which itself currently stands at 40 gigawatts and is planned to be at 100 gigawatts by 2015, 200 gigawatts by 2020, 400 GW by 2030, and 1,000 GW by 2050), China could soon lose its title of “world’s biggest coal user” to the US, from whom it only recently took that not-very-honorable status.

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