China has already reached its 2020 solar energy objectives after its capacity hit the 105GW target, solar industry company Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory (AECEA) informed. Reaching this target three years ahead of schedule was possible thanks to newly installed capacity that pushed solar energy up beyond 112 GW. Solar power has so far had a good year in China after the first part of this year saw a 24.4GW increase in capacity in contrast to Europe, which was unable to achieve the same results. This new capacity and success in reaching the 2020 goals cemented China’s position as the world’s leader in solar energy.
Despite this success, Beijing is actively planning new solar installations and the current numbers suggest that total new capacity for this year could reach 45GW. In contrast, in 2016 Germany’s total capacity reached 41.1GW. China’s solar energy ambitions are huge. The country is already home to the world’s largest solar farm (30 sq km) and it has recently opened the world’s largest floating solar farm. However, although China has been able to push through these landmark projects, only 1% of its domestic energy consumption is currently satisfied by solar power.
Green lobbying groups have urged Europe to show similar ambitions and strive to be the world’s leader in the sector. The association SolarPower Europe has called on Brussels to increase the current 27% renewable target for 2030 to 35%. In its Global Market Outlook, the association said that only a 35% would be able to retain the momentum and the impetus for the renewable energy industry. It also estimated that the bloc would have a hard time to hit the current 27% objective unless ambitions are set higher.