THE SOLAR PARK PANEL IN CHINA

THE SOLAR PARK PANEL IN CHINA

According to Greenpeace’s Energydesk, preliminary 2016 data show China installed the equivalent of one and a half soccer fields of solar panels every hour. That puts the country on track to meet its 2020 renewable energy goals in 2018.

CHINA MEETING THE TARGET

The renewables targets line up with China’s international climate commitments. The government previously announced it would lower the carbon intensity of its economy 40-45 percent below 2005 levels. Under the Paris Agreement, China has pledged to peak its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

The Chinese Government plans to spend $361 billion on renewable power generation from now through 2020. The influx of cash is expected to help China produce a total of 110 gigawatts of solar power and 210 gigawatts of wind power by 2020.

The increase in investment coincides with a 40 percent drop in the cost of installing large scale solar equipment in China, starting 2010. But this is expected to become even cheaper in the coming years

THE LARGEST SOLAR FARM

On the Tibetan Plateau in eastern China, 4 million solar panels harness the sun’s light, as part of the Longyangxia Dam Solar Park. It’s the largest solar farm in the world, spreading over 10 square miles. The complex sprung into existence in 2013 and has been rapidly expanding ever since. Satellite imagery received by NASA’s Earth Observatory chronicles its growth from a cluster of panels to a sprawling solar farm that looks like a giant, angular thought bubble as of January 2017.

Unlike the world’s largest ball of twine, it’s more than just a roadside attraction. The installation currently has the capacity to generate 850 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power roughly 140,000 U.S. homes.

The Longyangxia Dam Solar Park is one piece of the massive renewable energy revolution taking place in China. The country invested $103 billion into renewables in 2015, the last year with data available. That helped the world set arenewable investment high water mark of $286 billion.

China continues to see its emissions rise due largely to heavy coal use, which will increase the risks associated with climate change. The Longyangxia Dam Solar Park is a step toward ensuring China has the capacity to change that.

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