China is on track to install more solar power capacity this year alone than the US has installed – ever. The numbers are striking: Bloomberg New Energy Finance has raised its estimate for added Chinese solar capacity in 2023 to 154 gigawatts compared with a total of 144 in the US – and Chinese panel makers at a conference in Shanghai expect another 200 to 300 gigawatts to be installed in China next year as panel prices head on down. Halve that to allow for patriotic hype and the reality is still a dramatic contrast between two economic superpowers, each with vast sunny deserts, one resolved to harness their clean energy potential, the other still frankly fixated on oil and gas. For context, the most ambitious UK-backed solar power project, Xlinks, would bring 10.5 gigawatts to Britain from Morocco. As a rule of thumb, 10,000 times more solar energy reaches the planet than it needs.
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