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China Surpasses US, EU to Become World's Largest Solar Power Producer

China has jumped ahead of both the US and Europe in the solar energy field, having reached and then surpassed its 2020 solar power target three years ahead of schedule.

Recently released figures calculated by solar industry firm Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory (AECEA) revealed that after new projects came online in June and July, China exceeded its 2020 target of 105 gigawatts of installed solar capacity, according to Futurism.

This year has seen a huge surge in solar power development in China, with capacity increasing by 24.4 gigawatts in the first half of the year alone. This surge has solidified the country's status as the world’s leading solar nation, as reported by Euractiv.

China has developed vast solar and wind farms, which has helped fuel the growth of major industries that sell products worldwide.

Beijing-based Climate and Energy Policy Director with the Natural Resources Defense Council Alvin Lin told CNN: "Even in China where coal is – or was – king, the government still recognizes that the economic opportunities of the future are going to be in clean energy.”

China is now changing its 2017 goal for new solar installations. It is predicted that the total new capacity for this year could reach 45 gigawatts. By comparison, last year Germany’s total capacity was 41.1 gigawatts. The East Asian superpower is already the world's top solar power producer, according to BBC.

European renewable energy advocates are calling on Europe to emulate China and strive to be the top producer in the sector. Solarpower Europe urged the EU to increase its renewable energy target from 27% to 35% of energy production by the year 2030.

China already boasts the world’s largest solar farm, which spans 30 square kilometers. It also recently opened the world’s largest floating solar farm, which is positioned over an old coal mine.

Despite this recent growth, the Chinese solar sector still faces significant problems. Only 1% of the country's energy demand is currently met by solar power, reports the BBC, while coal remains its major source of energy.

[Illustration via Digital Trends]

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