China announces new 70 GW solar target, plans to triple installed solar capacity by 2017
- 20 May 2014
Beijing: China has set a new solar energy target of 70 gigawatts (GW) by 2017 in a move which indicates strong commitment to climate action ahead of the Paris 2015 UNFCCC Conference of the Parties.
In a statement on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website, the Chinese Government has pledged to expand solar power, with the new aim being to more than triple current installed capacity to 70 GW by 2017.Furthermore, the statement contains details on how relevant government agencies and state-owned companies can reduce fossil fuel consumption and facilitate the renewable energy transition.
The Asian nation is one of the key players in the global solar market, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance recently predicted that China would be the key driver of 2014 solar growth. In fact, in March of this year construction on a massive 1 GW solar power plant project in China's Gansu Province began.
China's solar PV market has rapidly expanded in recent years, with analysts from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimating that there was a five-fold increase of solar PV installations in China from 2011 to 2013.
A recent report by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) lends credence to this assertion, noting that in 2013 alone, China installed 11.3 GW of solar power.
Changhua Wu, Greater China Director of The Climate Group, highlighted the important international implications of the new solar energy target: “In the wake of the alarming findings of the IPCC AR5 report, it is vitally important that all nations prioritize action on climate. The news that our government has set a new 70 GW solar target is a strong indicator that China is committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions."
"This kind of low carbon leadership is commendable, not only because it will drive China’s green growth but also as it sets an example for the international community ahead of COP21", the Director asserted.
By Alana Ryan