Economical assessment of large-scale photovoltaic power development in China

Da Zhang, Qimin Chai, Xiliang Zhang*, Jiankun He, Li Yue, Xiufen Dong, Shu Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Photovoltaic (PV) power has a huge resource of supply, wide range of usage, and low impact on environment and it is considered as a key factor of the supply mix in the future for China. PV power is still in its infancy in China. It has higher cost than coal-fired power, and needs policy support. In recent years, China has launched a series of policies to stimulate PV power. These policies, however, are temporal, mainly because the total additional investment to make PV power grid parity is uncertain. After a brief review on current status of PV power development in China, this paper applies learning curve theory to study the cost reduction trends of polycrystalline silicon PV cells - main components of large-scale PV (LS-PV) power generation, then sets different scenarios to estimate time and the total learning cost of PV power's grid parity. MESSAGE model is also applied to make a comparable estimation of the future PV installation in China. The results show that long-term subsidy policy for PV power is feasible in China with the rising cost of coal-fired power, but aggressive subsidy policy is not very efficient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-375
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Learning cost
  • Photovoltaic (PV)


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