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Chinese SolarIn the first half of 2014, China has added 3.3 gigawatts of new solar power to its grid, the equivalent of Australia’s total solar capacity in 2013.

China is the planet’s single biggest environmental polluter, responsible for 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Its emissions have increased in tandem with its economic development and now, under pressure from the international community as well as its own citizens, it is searching for the means to diminish its massive carbon footprint.

The country has set an impressive solar goal of adding 13 GW in 2014. One gigawatt is enough energy to power 750,000 homes – or the equivalent of two coal-fired power plants.

In the last six months, most of China’s new solar power (2.3 GW) has been generated by photovoltaic power plants, with the remainder coming from distributed solar. Distributed solar comprises corporate and personal panels that are used at or near their location.

Encouraging as this solar growth has been, China remains well short of the 13 GW target. Even if it adds another 3.3 GW by the end of the year, it will have only achieved 50 percent of its goal.

Yet China remains adamant. Its National Energy Administration wants 10.7 percent of Chinese energy to come from renewable sources by year’s end, and this week’s announcement of its 13 GW target put solar stocks on the rise.

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