In the first half of 2014, China added 3.3 gigawatts of solar power — as much as is installed in the entire continent of Australia — China’s National Energy Administration reports. The country now has 23 gigawatts of solar power installed, which is nearly twice that of the United States.
China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, has set a goal of 35 gigawatts of installed solar power by the end of next year. The nation’s push toward solar energy will include distributed solar, such as rooftop and ground-mounted installations near homes and municipal buildings, Chinese officials say, and the government could announce distributed solar incentive programs later this month, Bloomberg News reports.
Renewable energy, especially solar, has become a high priority for the Chinese government as major cities and industrial areas have experienced choking air pollution. Earlier this week, officials announced that Beijing would ban coal use by 2020.