China raises solar target to 15GW by 2015, say reports

China has hiked its solar power development target to 15GW by 2015, according to local media reports.

The government officially announced targets yesterday for renewable energy generating capacity under the current five-year plan.

It had already increased the solar target from 5GW to 10GW by 2015 earlier this year.

The further 50% increase in the target was revealed to the Chinese media by the National Energy Administration.

It also set a wind-power capacity target of 100GW, in line with previously announced plans, with 5GW of that amount to be installed offshore.

The increase in the solar target may have been driven by the surge in solar power installations after China launched national feed-in tariffs for solar projects in July.

Market analysts now expect China to install more than 2GW this year, after building less than 500MW of solar generation capacity in 2010. In total, the country had less than 1GW by the end of last year.

Beijing’s strong support for solar power is likely to benefit China’s many module makers, currently suffering from slowing demand in Europe.

Suppliers of components such as inverters are also enjoying good growth in the Chinese market this year. Shipments of inverters to China increased 117% this year from 657MW in 2010, according to iSuppli.

Experts have, however, raised concerns that investment in the electricity grid is not keeping pace with rapid expansion of renewable energy in China.

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