China is now the world’s largest solar producer

China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) officially claims the title after doubling its installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2016. Thus, China consolidates its role as a world leader in renewable energy.

China’s solar potential / Solar GIS

China’s production of solar energy surged to 77.42 gigawatts at the end of the past year, after installing 34.54 gigawatts in 2016 alone. According to Reuters, the country is expected to add more than 110 gigawatts of capacity in the 2016-2020 period. Last year, China also became the world’s largest wind energy producer, with over half of the planet’s wind turbines being installed within its borders.

But China is also the world’s most populous country and all this is still just a drop in the bucket. As it stands today, solar provides just 1% of the country’s requirements. Wind is a bit more with the entire renewable sector providing a mere 11% of the country’s electricity, but things are improving. For the first time in history, CO2 emissions have decoupled from economic growth and Chinese coal consumption has recently been falling. China’s geography itself offers a great potential for renewables — especially wind, solar, and hydro.

China also seems prepared to invest the necessary money, because the country’s transition isn’t going to be cheap. The government recently announced plans to invest some 2.5 trillion yuan ($364 billion) into renewable power generation by the end of the decade.

This also puts a lot of pressure on other countries. No longer can the US say that China isn’t playing their part. Sure, they’re still the world’s largest polluter and that isn’t going to change anytime soon, but China is taking strides in the right direction, and others are following suit. Ireland voted to divest completely from fossil fuels, Sweden wants to become completely fossil-free, and the European Union is well ahead of its goals. Meanwhile, under the Trump administration, the US seems content to focus more on fossil fuels and perhaps even leave the Paris Agreement. The tables appear to have turned.

25 thoughts on “China is now the world’s largest solar producer

  1. Godfree Roberts

    "they’re still the world’s largest polluter".
    China doesn't pollute. Neither does the USA. People pollute.
    American people pollute twice as much as Chinese people. Why not be honest about it?

  2. Brian

    Fossils needs investment of over a trillion dollar per year, just to keep going, not to mention the 5.3T$ ion gov breaks per year, and the wars for oil and gas. They need to double solar and wind every 2 years which is typical for a new market S curve, and stop new fossils and nuclear. All new power should be solar and wind, it's already 60%.

  3. Sid Vicious

    But there are 4 times as many Chinese people, thus they pollute twice as much as Americans, thus making China the worlds largest polluter. Why not be honest about it? ;)

  4. Sid Vicious

    As mentioned, there are near 4 times as many Chinese as Americans:

    According to your numbers, one American = 16.5 tons a year whereas 4 Chinese do 30.4 tons a year, near TWICE AS MUCH as the USA. It's really that simple.

    Didn't you say people pollute? China has LOTS OF THEM, more than any other nation on the planet as well as many nations combined. Why not be honest about this too?

  5. Godfree Roberts

    Eurasia has lots of them, too. So does the Southern Hemisphere, and Africa. Ultimately, it comes down to individual responsibility and Chinese individuals are more responsible than American individuals.

  6. Sid Vicious

    Sure they are…Why do you defend the nation that created the largest mass murdered of ALL TIME? That would be Chairman Mao. He killed his OWN PEOPLE. Yet his face is still on their money…

    Now the China you defend fishes illegally in the waters off South America, where there are fewer "polluters' than in China.

    China now creates environmental turmoil in the South China Sea "making islands" in waters that can logically belong to four or five other nations more easily than China. They enable a nuclear North Korea. Do you think fallout/radiation may pollute?

    "Individuals"? You are cherry picking. China has too many people doing more environmental damage than the USA and does so IN THE NAME OF THE CHINESE NATION, a nation doing what it does for THEIR INDIVIDUALS.

    To "pretend" nation states over "individuals" don't call the shots on this planet is delusional to the max.

    See you in Bejing, if I can see you through all that smog that Chinese "more responsible individuals" have created there.

  7. Godfree Roberts

    "the nation that created the largest mass murdered of ALL TIME? That would be Chairman Mao. He killed his OWN PEOPLE. Yet his face is still on their money…"

    Kidding right? Mao was no George Bush. Mao didn't kill anyone. By the time Mao took charge in 1949, the Chinese people’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness had been lost. Chinese life expectancy was 35 years, 80 percent could not write their own names, electricity was available in a few cities, millions of bandits roamed the countryside, drug addiction paralyzed entire towns, 13-year old girls were sold as concubines for $100 and U.S. Ambassador John Leighton Stuart, reported that, in 1946 alone, 10 million starved to death in just three provinces.

    When Mao stepped down twenty years later–having served his entire tenure under a Western economic embargo–the invaders and warlords were gone, life expectancy was 67, the population had doubled, literacy was 84 percent, electricity reached even poor areas, the economy had grown 500 percent, drug addiction was eliminated, women were liberated and educated and basic human rights and China’s infrastructure were fully restored. There is no doubt that CCP did a lot of things wrong along the way. Most of the "founding fathers" of CCP were illiterate country bumpkins to begin with. Nonetheless the China after 1949 is a very different place than before and much more progressive. In some of the key areas such as literacy, women's rights, and economic development, it's been like night-and-day. Nowadays it's fashionable to criticize CCP and its politics. Back in 1930 nobody criticized the Chinese government when it happily gave away the richest Chinese cities to foreign occupation and gladly hang the signs of "Chinese and dogs not allowed" out on the fence. One can argue that the CCP was not democratically elected. Back in 1945, 400 million Chinese voted with their lives to join a party of country bumpkins with no name recognition, no money, no successful track record, no governing experience, no significant foreign backing, a quarter of the military strength of its opponent, vastly out-numbered and out-equipped, well, that has got to mean something.

    Mao’s economy beat India’s economy by 200%, though India’s was far richer and suffered neither war nor a Western boycott. Here’s China’s GDP growth under Mao. 600% growth despite the international boycott. It beats every other developing country and every other national leader on earth in its balance of speed and equitability:

    1979 410.05

    1978 367.87

    1977 325.00

    1976 298.86

    1975 303.95

    1974 282.77

    1973 275.62

    1972 255.24

    1971 245.69

    1970 227.97

    1969 196.22

    1968 174.41

    1967 179.42

    1966 188.87

    1965 173.4

    1964 146.99

    1963 124.83

    1962 116.22

    1961 123.23

    1960 147.01

    1959 144.75

    1958 131.23

    1957 107.14

    1956 103.07

    1955 91.16

    1954 85.98

    1953 82.44

    1952 67.91

    In his book, A Curtain of Ignorance, author Felix Greene (Grahams’ cousin) tells of traveling through China in 1960 and, though rationing was tight, he saw no starvation: “In May 1962 an unusually large number of Chinese refugees flocked to Hong Kong…official British government statements attest to the fact that the refugees were not suffering from malnutrition, nor did any of them seek political asylum or claim that they were fleeing Communism as such. Food shortages and the general discomfort of life in this period were undoubtedly some of the causes for this exodus, but not starvation”. In The Times, April 18, 1962, he wrote, ‘With the establishment of the new government in Peking in 1949, two things happened. First, starvation–death by hunger–ceased in China. Food shortages, and severe ones, there have been; but no starvation.

    After Congress established the boycott and embargo, the CIA was assigned to report to Congress on its success in causing mass starvation. At the height of the droughts and floods the Agency reported:

    4 April 1961: The Chinese Communist regime is now facing the most serious economic difficulties it has confronted since it consolidated its power over mainland China. As a result of economic mismanagement, and, especially, of two years of unfavorable weather, food production in 1960 was little if any larger than in 1957 at which time there were about 50 million fewer Chinese to feed. Widespread famine does not appear to be at hand, but in some provinces many people are now on a bare subsistence diet and the bitterest suffering lies imcriticstely ahead in the period before the June harvests. The dislocations caused by the ‘Leap Forward’ and the removal of Soviet technicians have disrupted China’s industrialization program. These difficulties have sharply reduced the rate of economic growth during 1960 and have created a serious balance of payments problem. Public morale, especially in rural areas, is almost certainly at its lowest point since the Communists assumed power, and there have been some instances of open dissidence.

    2 May 1962: The future course of events in Communist China will be shaped largely by three highly unpredictable variables: the wisdom and realism of the leadership, the level of agricultural output, and the nature and extent of foreign economic relations. During the past few years all three variables have worked against China. In 1958 the leadership adopted a series of ill-conceived and extremist economic and social programs; in 1959 there occurred the first of three years of bad crop weather; and in 1960 Soviet economic and technical cooperation was largely suspended. The combination of these three factors has brought economic chaos to the country. Malnutrition is widespread, foreign trade is down, and industrial production and development have dropped sharply. No quick recovery from the regime’s economic troubles is in sight”.

    Wake up. Turn off Fox News. Learn something.

  8. Sid Vicious

    Well, you being a Red Chinese sympathizer has been firmly established now in your denial of Mao's atrocities. Ask how the good Chinese People of Hong Kong appreciate PRC 'leadership" today. Or the PRC occupied nation of Tibet.

    You avoided how China is overpopulated and ignore the impact such overpopulation has on the environment of both the planet and their impacts on other nations. Smog replaces fog in Beijing.

    China did NOT sign the Kyoto accords, the "Magna Carta" of the leftist environmentalist "climate change" proponent.

    Go ahead, deny PRC atrocities since 1945. Deny their poor environmental record, past AND PRESENT. Deny their GOVERNMENT is aggressive to both the planet and the community of nations and hide behind "the individual" logic.

    You are only fooling yourself. Wake up. Turn off MSNBC. Learn something. Apply some thought process over parroting propaganda.

  9. Godfree Roberts

    China signed the Kyoto Accords on 29 May 1998, ratified them the following year, and has met all of its obligations under the Accords.
    The USA still refuses to sign the Accords.
    Why are you engaging in this discussion? I don't get it. Surely there's a football game or boxing match where your partisan ignorance would be welcome and useful.

  10. Sid Vicious

    Why to see if you would address China's negative issues as well as you promote them over the USA. You seem to IGNORE where China's actions are less than above board towards their neighbors or their own impact on the planet.

    Consider the "individual Chinese" you praise is managed by a GOVERNMENT, thus your "individuality" posture is empty.

    My understanding was both India and China did NOT sign the Kyoto Accords. I'll spot you that one, that is if you take the time from your fashion show or Hollywood awards program to notice…

    BTW, Tibet is STILL OCCUPIED BY CHINA. The Uhgurs are still oppressed in western China too. Hong Kong still has folks tossed in jail for wanting the freedom they once had under Britain that China took away…

    And just what happened to the "Goddess of Liberty" statue that was in Tienanmen Square? Did one of China's tanks run over it?

  11. Sid Vicious

    "People pollute" but then you define them as "AMERICAN PEOPLE" or "CHINESE PEOPLE", implying a group is "responsible" and said groups are managed by GOVERNMENTS .

    BTW, there are many Americans of Chinese Ancestry. Which group did you put them in for your totals? As "American people" or "Chinese people"? You didn't say… ;)

    Also, my last comment below awaits eagerly your reply, if you can!

  12. Sid Vicious

    If you are defining them by International Boundaries, then guess what, those are managed by GOVERNMENTS too, not "individuals.

    If not, then you still haven't categorized Americans of Chinese Ancestry, if they are part of "Chinese individuals".

    Geez, perhaps I "get" diversity more than you do. Ironic, eh? ;)

    BTW, the below latest post still awaits your attention.

  13. Sid Vicious

    But since there are a heck of a lot more Chinese than Americans, then the Chinese are the FAR bigger polluters.

  14. lukebc

    Well yea DUH yeah by sheer numbers from the aggregate of 1.4 billion humans is what makes China as a nations energy use so high.

    But on a PER CAPITA basis, an individual Chinese person energy consumption (electricity/gasonline/etc.) is on par with South American nations such as Brazil or Venezuela.

    On the opposite on PER CAPITA basis Americans (and Canadians) are energy PIGS. ON A PER CAPITA BASIS INDIVIDUAL American consumption of electricity/gasoline/etc.FAR outstrips even the Northern Europeans.

  15. Sid Vicious

    On a NATIONAL basis, China is the world's largest polluter. And they may have signed the Kyoto Accords, but are doing NOTHING towards achieving their goals. Get your arms around that.

    Why does China having the worlds largest population footprint and polluting TWICE as much as the USA get a pass by you? Their Kyoto signing and falling far short of their "goal" is also given a pass by you.

    You have some work to do over there, if their repressive government would just give you the freedom to say anything there…

  16. lukebc

    The Chinese individual creates 1/4th the pollution as the American individual. <b>When are Americans going to cut down their PERSONAL INDIVIDUALISTIC MASSIVE POLLUTING WAYS?</b>

    <b>Or ACCORDING TO YOU AMERICANS ARE NOT INDIVIDUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR PERSONAL MASSIVE POLLUTION CONSUMPTION?</b>

    <b>ALSO, the USofA is also signatory of Kyoto so why is the USofA NOT keeping up THEIR pledge to the accord? The last time I checked China has FAR surpassed the USofA in the numbers of solar, wind and hydro power sources they've built AND ARE STILL BUILDING…….. MEANWHILE YOUR HERO YOU WORSHIP "donald j. CHIMP" IS VOWING TO WITHDRAW YOUR USofA FROM KYOTO.</b>

    If FAT WASTEFUL Americans won't cut down their INDIVIDUAL energy consumption WHY SHOULD THE CHINESE INDIVIDUALS? </b>Given a Chinese individual consumes about 1/4th the energy that a FAT WASTEFUL American individual consumes AND AMERICANS WON'T CUT BACK ON THEIR FAT WASTEFUL ENERGY USE THEN THAT MEANS CHINESE INDIVIDUALS SHOULD BE ALLOW TO KEEP GROWING THEIR INDIVIDUAL ENERGY USE SO THAT IT IS EQUAL TO THE INDIVIDUAL AMOUNT THAT YOU FAT WASTEFUL AMERICANS CONSUME.</b>

  17. Sid Vicious

    The bottom line? China puts out more pollution than the USA. Yet you don't ask them todo ANYTHING about it.

    Oh, and the Kyoto Accord that they signed? Their "pledge"?

    Although China may have "signed" the Kyoto Protocol, here is what Wiki says about that:

    Climate change[edit]

    Main article: Climate change in China

    The position of the Chinese government on climate change is contentious. China is the world's current largest emitter of carbon dioxide although not the cumulative largest. China has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, but as a non-Annex I country is not required to limit greenhouse gas emissions under terms of the agreement.

    Typical liberal; Signing something makes you feel emotionally fulfilled, but what they DO or NOT DO based on what they signed, you IGNORE.

  18. lukebc

    With 1 BILLION 400 MILLION PEOPLE – versus 330 MILLION of the USofA – China is going to be a HUGE <b>NATIONAL</b> polluter FACE IT.

    WHEN China reaches the PER CAPITA energy consumption of PRESENT South Korea or Taiwan, China will DOUBLE the amount of pollution it spews NOW <b>BUT THE PER CAPITA energy consumption in China WILL STILL BE 1/2 OF WHAT THE USofA CONSUMES PER CAPITA NOW.</b>

    YOU rightwing reactionary SHIT-FOR-BRAINS (isn't the terms "rightwing reactionary" and "shit-for-brains" REDUNDANT?) "sidvicious" don't have the intellectual capacity to possibly conceptualize that even with a development level where China has a populace that exists at an economic development level equal to Brazil or South Africa <b>BUT DUE TO THE MASSIVE POPULATION OF CHINA, THEREFORE CHINA IS THE WORLD'S LARGEST EMITTER OF POLLUTANTS.</b>

    Being that you are a rightwing reactionary SHIT-FOR-BRAINS (isn't the terms "rightwing reactionary" and "shit-for-brains" REDUNDANT?) YOU "sidvicious" cannot comprehend that India is the world's 3rd largest emitter of pollutants (India NATIONALLY emits 1/2 of what USofA NATIONALLY emits) <b>EVEN THOUGH INDIA's PER CAPITA ENERGY CONSUMPTION <i>IS ON PAR WITH SOME OF THE POOREST SUBAHARAN AFRICAN NATIONS AND OTHER DIRT-POOR CENTRAL ASIAN NATIONS.</i></b>

    <b>Gee how can India be the world's 3rd largest polluter when India has an PER CAPITA GDP AND a PER CAPITA ENERGY CONSUMPTION EQUAL TO THAT OF THE POOREST AFRICAN COUNTRIES???????? Well gee it might have something to do with the FACT that India has 1 BILLION, 300 MILLION HUMAN BEINGS IN THEIR <i>NATION</i>……. something YOUR rightwing reactionary SHIT-FOR-BRAINS (isn't the terms "rightwing reactionary" and "shit-for-brains" REDUNDANT?) cannot seem to comprehend.</b>

    Because of India's MASSIVE 1 BILLION, 300 MILLION population, all India needs to do is reach the economic-development/engergy consumption levels of say, Algeria or Cuba or Botswana <b>THEN INDIA WILL HAVE THE <i>NATIONAL</i> POLLUTION EMISSION LEVELS OF THE USofA.

    To give YOU an idea of how the massive populations of China and Indi have on their "NATIONAL" pollution emission levels one needs to look at the nation with the 4th largest population: Indonesia. Indonesia's PER CAPITA energy consumption is double that of India but half that of China but with a population of "merely" 260 MILLION persons, Indonesia's <i>TOTAL</i> "NATIONAL" pollution emssion is low on the list of "polluters" – something YOUR rightwing reactionary SHIT-FOR-BRAINS (isn't the terms "rightwing reactionary" and "shit-for-brains" REDUNDANT?) cannot grasp.

  19. Sid Vicious

    You just said, "With 1 BILLION 400 MILLION PEOPLE – versus 330 MILLION of the USofA – China is going to be a HUGE NATIONAL polluter FACE IT."

    Thats what I've been telling you! I guess YOU just faced it!

    I certainly just got a HUGE reaction (rant) out of you here. Hey, does that make you a "right wing reactionary" with SHIT FOR BRAINS? :0

    BTW, although China may have "signed" the Kyoto Protocol, here is what Wiki says about that:

    Climate change[edit]
    Main article: Climate change in China
    The position of the Chinese government on climate change is contentious. China is the world's current largest emitter of carbon dioxide although not the cumulative largest. China has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, but as a non-Annex I country is not required to limit greenhouse gas emissions under terms of the agreement.

    Typical liberal; Signing something makes you feel emotionally fulfilled, but what they DO or NOT DO based on what they signed, you IGNORE.

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