Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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China is now World's Biggest Solar Energy Producer

China's solar power more than doubled in 2016.

(Photo : Getty Images) China's solar power more than doubled in 2016.

China's photovoltaic (PV) capacity more than doubled in 2016, making the mainland the world's biggest producer of solar energy in terms of capacity, according to the National Energy Administration.

China's PV capacity jumped to 77.42 gigawatts by the end of 2016, with the addition of 34.54 gigawatts over the course of the year.

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The provinces that saw the most capacity increase are Henan, Shandong, and Xinjiang. Meanwhile, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, and Xinjiang had the greatest overall capacity at the end of 2016. However, that does not end there as China plans to add over 110 gigawatts of capacity by the end of the decade.

Solar plants generated a total of 66.2 billion kilowatt-hours of power in 2016, accounting for 1 percent of the country's total power generation.

China is targeting to increase the mix of non-fossil fuel generated power from the current 11 percent to 20 percent by the end of the decade. It also plans to allocate 2.5 trillion yuan ($364 billion) for renewable power generation by 2020.

China has also reported progress on its energy efficiency and clean energy levels last year. The amount of energy used per unit of GDP dropped 5 percent in 2016.

Clean energy such as hydropower, natural gas, and wind power account for 19.5 percent of China's total energy consumption last year, up from 17.9 percent recorded in 2015. However, it is still relying more than half (60 percent) of power from coal, although it plans to cut down its dependency to 55 percent by 2020.

Meanwhile, the country's power use is slated to increase by 3 percent this year. Power consumption is used to gauge the country's economic activities, confirming China's ongoing restructuring and growth momentum.

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