China sets slightly lower solar target for 2016

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China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) has set a target of 15 GW of new solar PV capacity for 2016 – slightly lower than the goal of 17.8 GW of new additional capacity set for 2015.

This slight reduction in ambition is at odds with the nation’s wider goal to reach 150 GW of solar PV capacity by 2020. Currently, China has more than 40GW of solar PV installed, but the NEA said in October that it would be looking to increase the deployment of solar to 20 GW of new capacity annually.

According to the NEA, China will end 2015 with 43 GW of cumulative solar PV capacity installed.

However, issues with curtailment in some regions, added to ongoing delays in subsidy payments for some of China’s larger solar parks have served to highlight deficiencies in the country’s grid and funding infrastructure in matching the pace of development in 2015.

Despite modest lowering of its solar target, China is still aiming to increase its solar and wind capacity in 2016 by 21% as the country works towards lowering its greenhouse gas emissions and reducing its reliance on fossil fuels, particularly coal.

The NEA statement said that China will seek to add 20 GW of new wind power capacity next year as part of its drive to reach 20% renewable penetration by 2030.

According to Chinese newswire Xinhu News Agency, the NEA will also halt approvals of new coal mines within three years as the nation looks to lose its tag as the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide.

In order to fund its clean energy push, China announced this week that it will cut the feed-in tariff (FIT) for solar installations, and will also add a 27% surcharge on to domestic energy bills (of around 0.019 yuan per kWh of electricity), according to Bloomberg, which cited a report by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).