China looks set to strengthen its lead on global solar growth, with a total installation target of 15GW set for the year 2015, according to a draft consultation paper released recently by Beijing’s National Energy Agency.
Deutsche Bank reports that the Draft Plan on China’s Annual New On-Grid Capacity specifies that 8GW of this total will be in the form of centralised grid-connected solar plants, while 7GW will be from distributed power plants.
China’s new and bullish solar target is higher than its 2014 target of 14GW, on which it fell short, ultimately installing an estimated 11GW for the year.
According to Barron’s analyst Shuli Ren, the 2014 shortfall was mainly due to Beijing’s focus on smaller, rooftop distributed systems.
But Ren says Beijing has mostly fixed its policies now, ensuring that Chinese solar companies can be big winners in 2015, especially if oil prices are near the bottom.
Of course, China will need to add around 1,000GW of carbon-neutral energy capacity like solar if it hopes to meet its commitment to capping carbon emissions by 2030 under the recent climate change deal signed with the US.
In the shorter-term, it is aiming for a total solar capacity of more than 100GW by 2020, alongside more than 200GW of wind power.
The 2015 NEA draft also specifies that no capacity limit will be set for Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing and Tibet in case of no disposal of solar power in those areas. The lowest target for Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai is 50MW.