China is also the biggest market for solar installing a massive 10.5GW last year but it is still does not have the largest installation base for solar. That accolade still rests with Germany which had 36.8GW of installed solar capacity at the end of 2014as opposed to China with 29.6GW. This however will change following China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) announcement this week of their goal to install 17.8GW of solar this year. This would give China an installed base of 47.4GW making them solar king in every way.
And thanks to the growth in China this year global solar installations are likely to hit 55GW this year which will put it ahead of wind, coal, gas, oil and nuclear in terms of new power generation installations. Meanwhile back in Europe and the US companies like GE, Alstom and Siemens who have dominated power generation for a hundred year have still no clear strategy for solar. As to China they were right to focus on dominating solar. Not only is it good for the Chinese economy, it is good for the environment and thanks to solar millions of people across the world who do not have access to electricity will get it. As to Germany they may not dominate the solar industry anymore but they still have world class businesses such as SMA Solar, Wacker Chemie, Von Ardenne, and research institutes such as the Fraunhofer. And they have lots of zero marginal cost solar in their system which is driving huge changes and innovations in the power markets.