The Chinese Academy of Sciences has just released a report assessing the potential of multiple solar technologies for the nation, which predicts that by 2015 China will install 1-3 GW of concentrating solar power (CSP).
While "Report on Combating Climate Change (2012): Climate Finance and Low-Carbon Development" states that the nation is still in the appraisal stage for solar potential, it also finds that the vast majority of the nation suitable for solar development. The paper was presented at a social sciences forum in Beijing on November 21st, 2012.
The paper incorporates the Chinese Meteorological Administration’s National Solar Energy Resources Evaluation, which finds that 98% of the country records more than 1,000 kWh per square meter of annual solar radiation.
The evaluation also found that 3% of the nation receives more than 2,000 kWh per square meter of sunlight, with the national average around 1,500 kWh per square meter.
Tibet and Qinghai’s Golmud region are China’s two regions with the highest concentration of solar radiation. The highest recorded level is in Southern Tibet, at 2,140 kWh, with the least in Chongqing, at 905 kWh.
10 GW of PV, CSP predicted
In line with requirements through the National Energy Administration’s 12th Five-Year Plan, the report also forecasts prices and future markets for various technologies.
China possesses not only the world’s largest solar water heating market but the large majority of global capacity. By 2015 the report predicts the nation will reach 400 million square meters of solar water heating systems.
Additionally, the report estimates that by 2015 the nation will reach 10 GW of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) power including 5 GW of large-scale grid-tied desert projects, 3 GW of grid-tied projects in urban and rural areas, and 2 GW of off-grid and distributed generation.
PV costs to fall to USD 0.13/KWh by 2015
This will be driven by a fall in costs, and the Solar PV Industry’s 12th FYP Development Plan predicts that costs will fall to 15,000 CNY/kW (USD 2,400/kW), with levelized costs of electricity falling to CNY 0.8/kWh (USD 0.13/kWh).
By 2020, the report predicts PV costs of CNY 10,000/kW (USD 1,600/kW), with an LCOE of CNY 0.6/KWh (USD 0.096/kWh).
BIPV, CPV, CSP to increase
For future directions, the report forecasts that building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), CSP and concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) will be leading technologies.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences cites two different figures for CSP development, noting that the National Energy Administration’s Five-Year Plan calls for 1 GW of CSP by 2015, but also referring to a calculation by Huatai United Securities which estimates that before 2015 China will reach 3 GW of CSP, at a total market value of CNY 45 billion (USD 7.2 billion).
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