In 2015, China added over 15 GW of solar capacity. To put this in perspective, the United Kingdom has roughly 8.8 GW of total solar capacity. In one year, China almost doubled the solar energy generation capabilities of the UK.
China now has over 43 GW of total solar capacity, and is now the undisputed world leader in that category. Germany is in second place with about 38 GW, Japan is in third with approximately 34 GW, and the USA is fourth with roughly 26 GW. As part of China’s 5 year plan, it plans to add another 15 GW of solar power per year until 2020.
We have to remember that just because the solar generation capacity is there doesn’t mean that they will be producing power. For example, in some Chinese provinces over 1/3 of solar capacity sits idle for various reasons.
Why does China want to add such massive amounts of solar power? The simple answer is pollution control. The middle kingdom burns more coal than any other country, and this has made the air in big cities such as Shanghai extremely dirty.
We hope other countries will follow China’s example and rapidly grow their solar power capacity.