China has stepped to the forefront of solar energy with its slogan "Promote green development! Develop clean energy!" The country's National Energy Administration revealed that its solar power production more than doubled in 2016, hitting 77.42 gigawatts by the end of the year. China is now the world's biggest generator of solar-based electricity in terms of capacity. Of course it has a long ways to go relative to its population. Japan, Germany and the US each has roughly 40GW of installed capacity.
Biggest solar projects on the planet
China already has some awe inspiring solar projects up and running. The Longyangxia Dam Solar Park is located in the western province of Qinghai. The remote, 10-square-mile solar farm began construction in 2013 and now has the capacity to produce a massive 850MW of power -- enough to supply up to 200,000 households. The project has nearly 4 million solar panels at the site. It won't be the largest project in the world for long as China has plans to develop a project in the Ningxia region with the capacity of 2GW when it is finished.
China is also home to the world's largest floating solar power plant in Huainan with a 40MW capacity. The floating solar plant has been built over a flooded coal-mining region that gradually turned into a lake due to heavy rain and mining subsidence.
Ambitious plans for the future
China has an ambitious goal to increase its use of non-fossil fuel power from 11 percent today to 20 percent by 2030. By 2020, China plans to add more than 110GW of capacity alone. The investment into solar amounts to $364 billion and is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs.
"The numbers are just crazy," said Amit Ronen, director of the George Washington University's GW Solar Institute, who described feeling "awed" by the scale of the Chinese solar industry during a recent trip to the country.
The future is bright for the Chinese solar industry as President Xi wants to leave a legacy of more sustainable development. Xi said, "Our response to climate change bears on the future of our people and the wellbeing of mankind."