Thursday, June 19, 2014

China Leads World to Solar Power Record in 2013

World Cumulative Solar PV Installation (Credit: Click to enlarge.
In the last two years, countries around the world have added almost as much new solar photovoltaics (PV) capacity as had been added since the invention of the solar cell.  Nearly 38,000 megawatts of PV came online in 2013, a new annual record.  In all, the world’s installed PV generating capacity is now close to 140,000 megawatts—enough to power each home in Germany.  Falling costs and effective policies continue to drive tremendous growth in solar power.

China—the leading manufacturer of PV—had until recently installed very little solar power at home.  Those days are over. Between 2010 and 2012, China’s PV capacity grew nearly ninefold to 7,000 megawatts.  Then in 2013, China added at least 11,300 megawatts, the largest PV addition by any country in a single year.  With 18,300 megawatts, China now trails only Germany (at 36,000 megawatts) in overall capacity. (See data.)

More than half of China’s new PV in 2013 was installed in the western provinces of Gansu, Xinjiang, and Qinghai, far from population centers.  A 320-megawatt PV project—the world's largest—was completed in late 2013 alongside the Longyangxia hydropower dam in Qinghai.  As large project development in remote areas continues, China is also looking to increase the number of small systems that do not require long-distance electricity transmission, aiming for more than 8,000 megawatts of rooftop PV in 2014.  It appears that China will soon lead the world in solar power as it does in wind:  in May 2014, the government announced a PV target of 70,000 megawatts by 2017.

China Leads World to Solar Power Record in 2013

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