The country’s solar power capacity almost doubled in 2016
Great news for the environment were recently announced by China’s National Energy Administration.
In the last decade, the Chinese economy has been one of the most fast-growing ones around the world. However, the country’s energy needs were mainly covered by coal burning, resulting in heavy air pollution in many Chinese cities that lead to residents facing acute respiratory problems. The government took notice and began to find ways to combat pollution, principally by investing in renewables like wind and solar power. The results are impressive: in 2016, China installed more solar panels than any other nation, becoming the world’s biggest producer of solar energy by capacity, according to the National Energy Administration (NEA). In fact, the country almost doubled its solar energy capacity in just one year! 34.54 GW were installed, reaching a total of 77.42 GW installed solar capacity.
No matter how impressive that sounds, however, the generated energy from the solar plants last year - 66.2 billion kWh-, accounts for only 1% of the country’s total power generation.
Shandong, Xinjiang and Henan were among the provinces with the largest capacity increase, while Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai and Inner Mongolia had the greatest overall capacity at the end of last year, according to the data.
As stated in the NEA’s solar power development plan, China aims to add another 110 GW of solar power by the end of 2020. The country intends to increase the amount of non-fossil fuel generated power to 20% by 2030 (up from 11% today) and plans to invest 2.5 trillion yuan ($364 billion) to achieve this goal.