China's solar power investment to hit $39.5B by 2015

The investment, as part of China's 12th Five-Year Plan, is welcome news for domestic solar power companies facing export problems overseas.

China's National Energy Administration said investment in solar power generation is expected to reach 250 billion yuan (US$39.5 billion), as part of the country's 12th five-year-plan spanning 2011 to 2015.

China Daily reported Thursday the government expected some 500,000 people to be employed in the solar industry.

This was welcome news for Chinese solar power companies, since it meant they have the home market for support, at a time when they are facing problems in overseas such as the United States and Europe. Foreign companies will focus on entering the Chinese solar power market instead of accusing Chinese companies of dumping solar products abroad, the report added.

China is a major manufacturer of solar energy products, most of which are for export.

Earlier this month, the European Union (EU) launched an investigation into suspected dumping of solar panels by Chinese manufacturers. According to Reuters, the probe was due to a complaint by a group of European solar companies claiming that their Chinese counterparts had been selling panels below market value in Europe. China, in response, warned that restrictions on its exports will hurt the sector globally.

According to the 12 Five-Year Plan, between 2011 and 2015, China will add 10 million kilowatts (KW) of installed capacity of solar photovoltaic power stations, 1 million KW of installed capacity of solar light and heat power generation systems, and 10 million KW of distributed photovoltaic power generation.