China top of the world on solar power

floating solar PV in china
China’s floating solar project

When it comes to building solar powered capacity, China has been setting the pace.

It has reached its 2020 solar power objective 3 years ahead of schedule, after installed capacity capped well over its 105GW target.

Europe has been urged to exhibit comparable ambition.

Europe renewable energy catch up

New figures published by solar power industry firm Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory (AECEA) last week said that China has surpassed the nation’s 2020 target of 105GW of installed solar capacity.

This is on following new builds in June and July pushed it up beyond 112GW.

Solar energy is enjoying a sunny 2017 in China, following the first half of this year saw capacity increased by 24.4GW, dwarfing equivalent efforts in Europe, and cementing China’s status as the world’s top solar nation.

More to come

China isn’t about to rest on its laurels either.

Authorities recently changed its 2017 forecast for new solar power installations and figures now propose that total new capacity for this year could reach 45GW.

On the other hand, in 2016 Germany’s total capacity was 41.1GW.

Renewable power organizations have called on European countries to be more like China and strive to be top rated in the sector.

SolarPower Europe association urged the EU to increase the current 27% renewable energy target for 2030 to 35%.

Europe solarpv challenge

The association’s recent Global Market Outlook concluded that just a 35% target will hold the push for the renewable industry.

Additionally, it estimated the bloc will struggle to hit the existing 27% goal unless aspirations are raised.

Big goals

China’s goals are undoubtedly striking.

It already boasts the biggest solar farm in the world, which measures in at over 30 square kilometres.

It also recently opened the world’s largest floating solar project, which is situated over an old coal mine.

But when capability and landmark projects are excluded from the scenario, the Chinese solar sector does have considerable problems.

Although it hit its 2020 objective, only 1% of its energy demand is satisfied by solar power. Coal still reigns supreme in the energy mix.

Subsidies for renewable energy

Additionally, there is the issue of subsidies.

Feed-in-tariffs, paid out to solar companies to produce power and try to make the market more appealing, have frequently showed up late, damaging the bottom lines of numerous energy firms.