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 July 03, 2012
China Quadruples 2015 Solar Power Target!

 The global solar marketplace has a huge glut of solar panels and solar cells. This is the top reason why solar panel prices have plunged in the past year or so. And China's tremendous manufacturing output is certainly a big part of that oversupply.

Now, it seems the country is looking to help relieve that glut a lot more by quadrupling its 2015 solar power targets! The new 2015 target is reportedly 21 GW of installed solar power capacity. This is quadruple its initial 2015 target. (Though, notably, a little more than one year ago, the country doubled its target to 10 GW, and it increased it again to 15 GW in December.)

To put that into perspective, the top 5 countries for total installed solar PV power capacity (and their capacity) at the end of 2011 were:
1.Germany --- 24.7 GW
2.Italy --- 12.8 GW
3.Japan --- 4.9 GW
4.Spain --- 4.4 GW
5.USA --- 4.4 GW

China had about 3.1 GW.

Italy installed the most new solar power capacity last year at about 9.3 GW.

China's target also includes concentrating solar thermal power plants, 1 GW worth, but that leaves 20 GW of its target for solar PV.

These details were passed along to Bloomberg by phone today, and the official announcement/plan is supposed to be coming soon.

When China's 2015 solar target was 5 GW, its 2020 solar target was 20 GW. It's nice to see it has really stepped on the gas and increased that target by 5 years. But at this rate of change, perhaps the 2015 target will reach 25 or 30 GW in six months.

"The government has considered an increase since last year as solar panel makers led by Suntech Power Holdings Co. and Trina Solar Ltd. suffer from cuts in European subsidies and a global supply glut that drove prices lower," Bloomberg reported.

"With a significant tumble in photovoltaic prices, the timetable for mass use is ahead of time," said Lian Rui, a senior analyst for the research company Solarbuzz. "The new target is still very conservative; we expect the installation to surpass 30 gigawatts."

Yep, you read that right. 20 GW is just a target --- the expectation is that the country will actually hit 30 GW by 2015. I'm just going to go out on a limb and predict another big increase in its 2015 target sometime around December.

Combined with Japan's big feed-in tariff news last month, the global solar industry must be feeling pretty good right now, and I wonder if we could 'soon' see the solar power leaders shift from Europe to Asia.

Here are some more details on solar policies and trends in China from Bloomberg:

China has offered financial assistance for projects under the so-called Golden Sun program since 2009 to stimulate renewable energy. The nation in May chose GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd., Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. and about 100 other developers of projects with 1.7 gigawatts of combined capacity to be eligible for a subsidy of 5.5 yuan a watt under the program in 2012.

In January, Suntech Chief Executive Officer Shi Zhengrong and Trina CEO Gao Jifan said China may double its installations of solar panels this year, absorbing excess production that depressed prices and profit margins in 2011.

JinkoSolar Holding Co. expects the domestic market to account for as much as 12 percent of sales this year, double that of a year earlier, Chief Executive Officer Chen Kangping said in April. Yingli Chairman Miao Liansheng said in May China will account for 30 percent of revenue this year, while Germany and the U.S. currently make up about 80 percent of its sales.