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China Boosts Solar Investments

China has increased its investments in solar energy since the start of the year, with the amount growing threefold from a year ago, Bloomberg reported, citing official data.

Investments in solar power totaled some $4.3 billion for the period from January to April, the report said, citing figures from the National Energy Administration. This was 204 percent higher than investment in solar in the first four months of 2021 and represents more than half of China’s total solar investments for the first 11 months of 2021.

China is already the biggest renewable energy market in the world and is not slowing down. This year, plans are to add 220 GW of new power capacity in total—a record-high—of which a substantial amount will be renewables as China seeks to reach a peak for its emissions by 2030.

Meanwhile, Chinese solar panel makers are also set to benefit from the European Union’s new plan for the accelerated buildout of wind and solar as it seeks to reduce its energy dependence on Russia.

According to a Bloomberg report, Morgan Stanley sees Chinese panel makers are the biggest beneficiaries of that plan, especially as their business in the United States has been throttled by a federal probe into tariff evasion.

Global renewable power capacity additions this year are seen at 320 GW, according to the International Energy Agency. Solar will account for 60 percent of this expansion, followed by wind and hydropower, the IEA said.

The IEA report noted China’s leadership in the renewables space, thanks to strong political support for solar and wind. According to the authority, global solar capacity additions this year and in 2023 will break current records, reaching 200 GW in 2023.

“The cost of installing solar PV and wind plants is expected to remain higher than pre-pandemic levels throughout 2022 and 2023 because of elevated commodity and freight prices, reversing a decade of declining costs,” the IEA said. “However, they remain competitive because prices for natural gas and other fossil fuel alternatives have risen much faster.”

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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