Social Innovation Trend Canvas

Sunny outlook for China’s solar leadership

While Germany continues its leadership in new solar technology development, China, the world’s largest energy consumer, has recently achieved a global solar market share of 50%.

China has previously used feed-in-tariffs to successfully develop the biggest wind power industry in the world. It is expected to soon announce a nationwide feed-in-tariff scheme for solar power.

China plans to increase their solar capacity by 1000% over the next five years. The resulting increase in manufacturing output of standard crystalline silicon modules is gaining economies of scale, which are already driving down the cost of solar panels worldwide, from Britain to Thailand.

In Thailand for instance, solar power generation costs have declined rapidly since 2008. Thailand’s Ministry of Energy reports that with the entry of global producers such as Conergy, Dow Chemical, GE Energy, and Phoenix Solar, the country is well on its way to achieve 20% renewable energy contribution by 2022.