Itâ€™s no secret that China has been investing in renewable energy in a big way. Not only did it overtake the US to become number one in installed wind power, it has devised a plan to install 10GW of solar capacity by 2015. And 2015 is an important year, because according to a government-linked Chinese think-tank, solar power could apparently reach grid parity by 2015.
The think-tank, the Energy Research Institute, is backed by Chinaâ€™s National Development and Reform Commission. It sees the price drop occurring as the worldâ€™s largest solar panel manufacturer increases installation across the country.
Its findings are also corroborated by the UKâ€™s Solar Trade Organization (STO), which sees a major breakthrough in cost as investments continue in the solar sector. The STO is using the recent news to encourage the UK government to invest in more renewable energy.
So far, China has come a long way in achieving its renewable energy targets over the past couple of years. At the end of 2010, its installed solar capacity was only 900MW. By the end of this year, it will have more than doubled its capacity to around 2GW. And if Chinaâ€™s solar plans come to fruition, it will have established for itself a huge reservoir of renewable energy to tap into in 2015, at a kWh cost comparable to coal.
Yes, China has been very smart with where it invests its money these days.
It seems to recognize that relying predominantly on fossil fuels for development cannot be sustained for long in the 21st century. The world simply cannot continue to release large amounts of COâ‚‚ into the atmosphere without suffering the consequences of climate change.
And when the supposed â€œcarbon bubbleâ€ does burst, countries that have built for themselves a clean, renewable future will emerge as leaders in the global economy.
Image CC licensed by Matthijs Koster