China Solar Thermal Targeted For 3,000 MW By 2015

  • Published on November 28th, 2012 by

China has been quite ambitious with its solar power goals — and it has a tendency to double those goals every 6 months or so. Of course, the country’s electricity goals, in general, are quite dramatic (and concerning, from a global warming perspective). It’s looking to put a population of over a couple billion on the same footing per capita as those of us in the West. It’s fun to write about China’s solar and wind power projects and goals, but a little less fun giving attention to the concerns in the back of my mind about its huge coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear growth.

The good news today is that China is likely to have about 3,000 MW of solar thermal power capacity by 2015. This is the news from China Daily based on a recently released report.

Mirrors at solar thermal power plant via World Bank Photo Collection

The total market value for that projected solar thermal capacity is 45 billion yuan (or $7.15 billion).

Here’s more from China Daily: “The paper, released by the Social Sciences Academic Press, put the country’s annual averageof energy generated from solar radiation per square meter at 1,500 kilowatt-hours, an amountpossibly equal to the amount of energy consumed by an average household in one year.” Also noted is that 98% of Chinese territory lands an annual average of 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) or higher solar radiation per square meter. Not bad.

Notably, while China is the single largest CO2 emitter in the world (though, not per capita at all), it knows that it is going to be hit by the horrible effects of global warming and climate change. The paper projects an increasing amount of extreme weather, such as strong storms and floods.

Beyond global warming and climate change, China’s energy and material growth is actually unsustainable for other reasons as well. Already, “China is using more resources each year per capita than the world can supply in that same time period.” And that’s based on a report that was looking at 2007 numbers! Its per capita use of resources has significantly increased since then.

I think China has been doing quite a good job on clean energy. And while we might have to give the country a little wiggle room to have a diversified energy portfolio that includes dirty energy, I’m hoping it realizes sooner than later that it is really going to be hit hard economically by global warming and climate change if it doesn’t become even more of a clean energy leader.

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is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.