After the November pact with US president Obama to increase China’s share of alternative energy sources in its total energy use to 20% by 2030, China has begun to invest in solar energy. As currently the world largest emitter of carbon, China plans to build as much as 17.8 gigawatts of solar projects in 2015, almost two and a half times as much solar energy as the United States added in 2014. Last year China installed 12 gigawatts of solar power, narrowly missing its target from the year before. China aims to build these projects in the areas most affected by air pollution such as the northern province of Hebei.
As a result, China has seen its carbon emissions fall for the first time in a decade by 2%, helping to slow down the global production of green house gasses. For an economy growing at over 7%, a 2% decrease in carbon emissions is a sign of significant efforts by the Chinese government. The China’s National Energy Administration has asked departments in 26 regions to submit plans by the end of April including new solar projects for 2015.
Although the solar programs have been proven successful, China must diversify its energy portfolio. Currently, about 70% of China’s energy is coming from coal. Although solar energy is clean, it is not costly. Perhaps if China invested in other sources of energy such as nuclear energy, than it could keep energy prices low while maintaining a low carbon footprint.