China eyes further PV target increase in 13th five-year plan

The 13th version of China’s five-year plan is currently under development, with the National Energy Administration (NEA) due to report its revised plan to the state council in August.

Early indications are that the NEA will seek to increase the targeted solar PV installation figure from 100 GW by 2020 to a far higher figure, with some sources suggesting 200 GW by that date.

In 2009, the original PV installation target for the 12th five-year plan was a mere 5 GW, but that threshold has been consistently increased over the past few years, and stood at 35 GW in 2014.

Since the end of last year China’s cumulative solar PV figure stood at more than 28 GW, and a solid start to 2015 has compelled the NEA to assess its solar targets. By the end of 2015, some industry observers believe that China will have reached 45 GW of cumulative installed PV capacity.

The director of China energy economics research center at Xiamen University, Boqiang Lin, has stressed that because the 12th version of the five-year plan has yet to expire, estimating the PV installation figures for 2020 remains tricky.

A previously released figure of 100 GW – which at one stage seemed rather ambitious – should easily be surpassed, he believes, and with continued government support for solar and favorable market conditions, the actual target could be higher, but Lin did now wish to say by how much.

Hareon PV chairman Huaijin Yang did not share Lin’s caution, however, and has stated outright that there should be no reason why China does not set 200 GW as its solar target for 2020.

To achieve this goal between now and 2020, China would need to install more than 30 GW of PV capacity each year, at an investment calculated to be around RMB 240 billion ($38.6 billion) per annum, as well as the identification of vast tracts of suitable land and rooftops.