China aims for 150 GW of solar PV by 2020

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On Tuesday, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) told state news agency Xinhua that China will increase deployment of solar PV to 20 GW annually through 2020, to reach a capacity of 150 GW.

NEA estimates that the nation had installed 35.8 GW of solar PV by the end of June 2015, with 7.7 GW installed in the first half of 2015 alone. This is the second increase of goals made this month, following the increase of China’s 2015 installation target to 23.1 GW.

NEA New Energy Office Director Dong Xiufen says that future work will focus on distributed PV in Central and Eastern China as well as Western China, which has seen the bulk of development to date.

Georgetown University Associate Professor of Science, Technology and International Affairs Joanna Lewis notes that barriers still remain.

“While is is very likely that this new target will be met, there are real challenges with scaling up solar and other renewables in China so rapidly,” states Lewis. “Widespread curtailment is being addressed with better resource assessments and forecasts, as well as more integrated grid planning.”

In late September, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced pending reforms of the power sector including grid priority for low-carbon energy sources, which may also play a role.

“It is widely expected that power sector reforms being gradually rolled out will help renewables compete better with traditional electricity sources,” notes Lewis.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) additionally told Xinhua that MIIT will push for more mergers and acquisitions among the nation’s PV makers, as well as pushing for technology improvement.

MIIT Deputy Head Huai Jinpeng said that he expects more policies for grid integration of solar, as well as additional subsidies.