Bloomberg News

China to Boost Solar Power Goal 67% as Smog Envelops Beijing

January 30, 2013

China plans to increase its goal for solar-power installations in 2015 by 67 percent to reduce reliance on fossil fuels blamed for greenhouse gases and as smog in Beijing reached record hazardous levels this month.

The world’s biggest emitter of carbon-dioxide plans to raise the solar target to 35 gigawatts by 2015 from 21 gigawatts set last year, boosting demand for manufactures that suffer from slowing sales in Europe, Shi Dinghuan, the counselor of China’s State Council and the president of Chinese Renewable Energy Society, said today by phone.

“We’ve got more pressure to save energy and reduce emissions as smog worsens due to pollution,” he said. China will use renewable energy to cut coal consumption and support the domestic industry amid U.S. and Europe anti-dumping charges against Chinese solar products, Shi said.

The increase in solar installations first appeared in the Economic Observer today. Shares of solar-device maker China Singyes Solar Technologies Holdings Ltd. (750) rose 2.1 percent in Hong Kong. The new target would increase solar power installations by more than five-fold from 6.5 gigawatts of capacity as of the end of last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data.

“China always wants to increase solar power capacity,” said Wang Xiaoting, a Beijing-based analyst at New Energy Finance, a unit of Bloomberg LP. “The nation adjusts the targets from time to time with consideration for practical factors such as related policies and construction conditions.”

Slower Demand

Chinese manufacturers led by Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP:US) and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. (YGE:US) faced weaker demand and a supply glut that has driven panel prices down by 25 percent in the past year.

The U.S. last year imposed tariffs on Chinese-made solar cells and the European Union began probing whether Chinese manufacturers are selling cells and panels below cost in European markets.

Earlier this month, the Chinese government said it planned to install 10 gigawatts of solar capacity this year. China allocated 13 billion yuan ($2.1 billion) in subsidies for domestic solar project developers in 2012, the official Xinhua News Agency reported last month.

Interest in renewable energy is getting a boost as Beijing warned the city’s 20 million people to prepare for at least another day of smog. Officials closed some factories and ordered government cars off the road as pollution remained at hazardous levels.

Premier Wen Jiabao said China should promote energy-saving and reduce emissions to cut pollution, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The smog has remained dense after hitting record levels on Jan. 12.

To contact the reporter on this story: Feifei Shen in Beijing at fshen11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net


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