The Chinese government has planned massive solar projects during the last six months far outstripping the US in planned capacity.
In January 2009, the Qinghai province Haixi region rolled out the world’s first 1GW solar farm project. Suntech power has been reportedly selected for the first 400MW, ReneSola and JA Solar are in the running to win 200MW each, to reach 80% of its 1GW target. Many other Chinese solar companies are also competing for the rest of the 200MW – companies such as Solarfun Power Holding, Yingli Green, Trina Solar.
Qinghai is just one of the provinces that the central government fully supports for the nation’s ambitions. Before Qinghai’s 1GW solar farm, Yunnan province rolled out its first on-grid 166MW solar farm. According to the report , both the Gangsu province and Inner Mongolia province are planning for 2GW or bigger solar farms in their regions. The other 10 provinces have also submitted solar energy projects to the central government for approval.
China’s target for renewable energy is to achieve 15% of total energy consumption for the nation – that will translate to roughly 30-40GW by 2020. There will be a contribution from other forms of renewable energy such as wind, geothermal, biomass, as well.
A point of interest, with huge solar projects on the way in China, is that there are only two major solar wafer providers, LDK solar and ReneSola. ReneSola is also a vertical integration company, providing PV models.
By comparison we can look at the big solar projects in U.S. The largest one so far is the 800MW in California, to be built by Optisolar. Sunpower is going to provide 250MW PV panels to the project. We also have some small scale solar farms on schedule, such as the 75MW solar project in Charlotte County, Florida. First Solar is also planning a 48MW Nevada solar farm that will start generating electricity this year.
Image is of a the 20 MW Solar plant at Beneixama – Courtesy of City Solar AG