The Inevitable Future of Solar Power: China the Energy Giant

Simply put, China is the world’s largest solar photovoltaic energy market – period. Since the year 2015, China has been at the forefront of the LED lighting industry, surpassing Germany’s capacity according to China’s Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) [www.cleantechnica.com]. CPIA reported 28 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity was produced in 2014, and at the end of the following year (2015) the total solar PV capacity rose to 43 GW, which is a 40% increase in just one year alone. In 2016, China’s total solar PV capacity rose to 77.4 GW, and in 2017 China became the first country in history to surpass 100 GW of total solar PV energy produced in a single year [www.bloomberg.com]. 

Year-on-year growth in production capacity 2017 vs. 2016

Source [www.nea.gov.cn]

Solar energy has been growing more than any other energy sector in China. The graph above shows a 68.7% increase in solar PV power in one year alone; this indicates a decrease in other fossil fuel consuming resources and a shift towards a cleaner future with reliable energy – and China is at the forefront of the market. The percentage of production capacity for solar power continues on an upwards trend and as rates continue, solar power will be the biggest market for energy in the near future.

Let’s take the case of beginnings of solar energy in China. Initially, solar development was sluggish because companies and developers were hesitant to begin construction due to a lack of infrastructure that they could build on, which could end up costing companies a fortune. This was before China instated a sequence of feed-in tariffs in May 2011 where a large amount of solar PV manufacturing companies and distributors were incentivized to finish before September 30th, 2012, and meant solar grid operators would compensate developers 1.15 yuan per kilowatt-hour, whereas coal-powered developers would only receive 0.4-0.5 yuan per kilowatt-hour [usa.chinadaily.com.cn]. This finally encouraged a multitude of companies, both public and private, to take the plunge and begin assimilating the infrastructure of what is now the biggest solar power producer in the world.

 A panda-shaped solar panels array.

A panda-shaped solar panels array.

The Chinese State Council’s National Development and Reform Commission established an estimated goal of 105 GW by the year 2020 - this goal was surpassed in July 2017. Trends indicate production of solar energy will continue to multiply exponentially and the solar PV market will continue to grow dramatically as technology evolves faster and faster. China is aiming to increase its non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 15% of total primary energy consumption, with the country’s National Energy Administration predicting China’s solar PV capacity will reach 150 GW by 2020 [www.xinhuanet.com].

Time and time again China continues to surpass and readjust its capacity for solar power, and as time progresses, modern technology will have the capacity to harness the massive amounts of power being produced and and apply it to various applications in the construction sectors, energy sectors, and everything else green energy related. Solar capacity and distribution will transform into a primary source of power and other countries will follow China's footsteps.

Whether it’s expanding a current company into foreign soil, teaming up with native companies that know a specified target market using strategic partnership, or strategic sourcing for equipment, a partner that has years of experience in the field is a vital asset to any company that wants to dominate competitors and earn maximum profit.  Moving into target markets such as the booming Chinese solar market can put a business foot in the door and subsequently expanding a business into Asia. Solar energy is one of the many upcoming fields in China that have seen exponential growth throughout the past years and will continue to develop rapidly. As technology develops at this incredible rate, innovation and transformation are a necessity for new international businesses or already established businesses seeking to expand into new markets.