One way China is working to battle climate change-causing carbon emissions is by developing a vast army of renewable energy projects. Even as the country struggles with pollution, it has made great strides on clean energy. They’re now the largest producer of solar energy by capacity in the world, adding 34.54 gigawatts of the country’s installed capacity of 77.42 gigawatts last year alone.
The country’s National Energy Administration (NEA) announced over the weekend that in 2016, installed photovoltaic capacity in China more than doubled. Their data revealed the jump to 77.42 gigawatts after the country added 34.54 gigawatts. The provinces in which capacity increased most include Shandong, Henan, and Xinjiang, which is also one of the provinces with the largest overall capacity. Gansu, Inner Mongolia, and Qinghai join Xinjiang in that latter category.
And China’s not stopping here. Based on the NEA’s solar energy development strategy, between 2016 and 2020, they aim to add over 110 gigawatts of capacity.
Solar power plants in China generated 66.2 billion kilowatt-hours in 2016, amounting to one percent of total power generation in the country, according to NEA. Currently 11 percent of generated power in the country originates from non-fossil fuel sources, but China hopes to bump that number up to 20 percent by 2030. To help attain that goal, they plan to pour over $360 billion into renewable energy projects, including solar, wind, nuclear, and hydropower. As the country still relies heavily on air-polluting coal, such an investment could help China work towards cleaner skies again. It will boost the economy too, creating more than 13 million jobs, according to the NEA.
Engadget notes there are a few countries that edge China out in terms of solar energy relative to population size, such as the United States, Germany, and Japan. But with regards to capacity, China claims the prize.