Solar Power Looks to Expand In China’s Growing Cities

WUHAN, CHINA – APRIL 27: Chinese workers from Wuhan Guangsheng Photovoltaic Company install solar panels on the roof of a building on April 27, 2017 in Wuhan, China. As the world’s most populated nation, China consumes more electricity and creates more carbon emissions than any other country. Yet it is also the world’s leader in renewable energy, known for its sprawling solar fields and large-scale wind turbine projects in western rural areas. Greenpeace estimates that by 2030 renewable energy could replace fossil fuels as China’s primary source of power. However, much of the energy being produced by rural projects is wasted during transmission to urban areas or by rising curtailment rates (a measure of potential supply lost to low consumption). To harness the potential for renewable energy to power China’s expanding cities, solar and wind projects are increasingly being brought into urban areas where supplies can be generated and consumed locally. In Wuhan, a relatively small Chinese city with a population of 10.6 million, rooftop solar panel systems being installed on houses and buildings to provide energy and subsidies to owners. Any surplus energy is sold to the state power grid, though there are often delays in bringing new renewable projects into the grid system. Still, the concept is slowly gaining acceptance among urban consumers who find it increasingly accessible, according to Wuhan Guangsheng Photovoltaic Company, which is responsible for more than 80 percent of the city’s installations. To ease the country’s longtime dependence on coal and other fossil fuels, China’s government has made strategic investments in the solar panel industry which has created intense global competition in the estimated $100 billion global solar energy market.(Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)