On Monday, China’s State Council announced plans to boost the amount of photovoltaics, but this time it’s not manufacturing that it’s boosting, rather it’s domestic use of solar. The country said it now plans to install 35 gigawatts, or more, of solar power by 2015’s end.
That’s up significantly from the 21 gigawatts (still a tall order, since it now has about 7 gigawatts of solar installed). Under the new plan, China plans to install about 10 gigawatts a year between now and the end of 2015.
The announcement was made as part of a larger effort for the country to keep its solar industry afloat and create jobs. As part of the effort, the country will also reorganize its solar industry from manufacturing, incentives and policy, to installing solar, according to a Google Translation of the document.
The announcement should be good news for the solar manufacturing industry—across the world—in particular. It will help to reduce the amount of PV inventory throughout the world, since the industry has seen relatively constant chronic oversupply issue for the past few years. The oversupply has largely been contributed to manufacturers in China, who officials in the U.S. and in Europe have determined were flooding the market and trying to outcompete competitors by artificially lowering prices. Both the U.S. and European Union have established anti-competitive tariffs on the Chinese imports.
The statement from China also addresses the issue of oversupply, observing that its PV exports are facing increased resistance. Part of which it said can be attributed to a lack of coordination as the industry developed. “[In] China's photovoltaic industry exists serious excess capacity,” it said. On top of that, the industry in China has largely relied on demand from the international market and the country has not had much focus on technological development, which could impair the country’s PV manufacturers to compete with other foreign manufacturers.
In the statement the government outlined that it wants to control PV manufacturing, particularly in terms of module and manufacturing efficiency. Under that part of the plan, the country wants its monocrystalline PV modules to be at least 20 percent efficient, polycrystalline silicon to be at least 18 percent efficient and thin-films to be at least 12 percent efficient. It also set a manufacturing efficiency goal of no more than 100 kilowatt hours per kilogram of polysilicon PV.
The country said it will also pursue a strategy of both large-scale and distributed solar. Including in places where solar can be used in microgrid operations, like in rural towns, hopstials and university campuses, among others.