China is expected to continue to be the world’s fastest growing solar PV market during the five years spanning 2016 to 2020, with an addition of 15 GW to 20 GW in new PV power generation capacity each year, National Energy Administration director Nur Bekri said at the 9th Asia Solar Energy Forum.
The explosive growth in energy demand has inspired China to develop clean energy while optimizing its energy mix. As the world’s largest energy producer and consumer, China is willing to accelerate the development of clean and low-carbon energy, Nur Bekri added.
PV power generation has become one of the highlights of China’s energy development over the past five years, and thanks to a series of favorable policies, during the next five, the industry is set to enter a period of high growth.
By 2020, China’s installed solar power capacity is expected to reach 160 GW, generating 170 billion kWh in electricity annually, according to the National Energy Administration. In addition, solar power is expected to account for approximately 7 percent of the country’s power structure, 15 percent of new installed power capacity and 2.5 percent of total electricity generation by the end of 2020.
According to Liang Zhipeng, deputy director of the New Energy and Renewable Energy Department of the National Energy Administration, China plans to rigorously develop the solar power industry by promoting the development of distributed PV power generation systems, facilitating the construction of PV power stations and solar thermal power plants in resource-rich regions, especially in the western part of China, and boosting solar thermal utilization.
The PV industry has greater potential as solar energy is easier to access than other new energy sources, such as wind and biomass. Notably, it is also far easier to access than nuclear.
As of the end of 2015, China’s accumulated installed PV capacity reached 43 GW, allowing the country to surpass Germany as the world’s largest PV market. Investment in China’s PV-related industries was estimated at 100 billion yuan ($15.5 billion) in 2015, up nearly 40 percent from a year earlier, statistics show.
China’s newly installed PV capacity is expected to exceed 20 GW in 2016, according to a report by the China Photovoltaic Industry Association.
“The global PV capacity is expected to reach 450 GW to 600 GW by 2020 and 1,000 GW to 1,500 GW by 2030. China’s PV industry has rosy prospects,” Zhipeng said.
In a move to accelerate technological advances in PV power generation, the National Energy Administration initiated the “PV Pioneer” program in 2015. Construction started on the first 3 GW “PV Pioneer” project in Datong, a city in China’s Shanxi Province, last year and the first phase of the project is expected to be completed in mid-2016.
As China now has rich experience in PV manufacturing, development and utilization, high-quality yet cost-efficient products, as well as strong capabilities in construction, looking ahead, the National Energy Administration will provide support for solar and solar-related manufacturers that engage in export-based projects, Nur Bekri said.