China May Lift 2020 Solar Target To 150GW

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Originally published on RenewEconomy

Deutsche Bank analysts say local media reports in China suggest that the country’s 2020 solar power target could be lifted to 150 GW from the current target of 100 GW – meaning more than 20 GW of solar would need to be added in each year from 2016 to 2020.

The reports come as China president Xi Jinping pledged during a visit to the US and meetings with President Barack Obama to introduce a nation-wide emissions trading scheme in 2017, and give priority to renewable energy installations.

China's largest solar farm in Xuzhou City, Jiangsu, a 20 MW mix of fixed panels
China’s largest solar farm in Xuzhou City, Jiangsu, a 20 MW mix of fixed panels

As the Rocky Mountain Institute noted on Monday, China has historically had dispatch quotas on fossil generation, often leading to curtailment of renewables and the running of inefficient coal plants. In the first half of 2015 this has led to curtailment of 15 percent of wind and 10 percent of solar generation.

China now proposes a competitive power dispatch that prioritises the emissions-free, near-zero marginal dispatch cost of renewables. RMI says this should result in an immediate reduction of 200 million metric tons of carbon emissions per year, but more importantly, supports the economic expansion of renewables.

China is not the only one considering a big boost to its targets for solar and other renewable energy sources. India is reportedly going to announce this week that it will aim for a 40 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, which would require some 250GW of solar and some 100GW of wind energy.

Brazil earlier this week said it will lift its share of non-hydro renewable energy to 23 per cent by 2030, from 15 per cent now. Total renewables, including hydro, will account for 40 per cent of power production. Even Bangladesh is looking to install 5GW of solar.

Deuutche Bank says the key to meeting the raised target will be financing and “normalisation” of the subsidy payment that is currently being delayed.

Deutsche Bank estimates that China will install around 15GW of solar in 2015 and 20GW in 2016.  It noted that China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) announced this week an additional construction quota of 5.3GW for solar power projects in 2015, mainly released to provinces which made good progress in solar farm construction.

“So far, there have been 24.1GW of new construction quota approved for 2015, including 17.8GW announced in March, 1GW demonstration projects in Shanxi in June, and 5.3GW announced today; while there is no cap on roof-top distribution projects. Not all the 24.1GW can be connected to grid in 2015, though.”

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