The coverage of solar water heating systems in operation in China will reach 150 million square meters in 2010, an increase of 50 percent from the current level, a report from the country's top planning authority predicted.
The Energy Research Institute (ERI) of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) submitted a report on "Renewable Energy Markets And Policies In China" to the on-going "Solar World Congress 2007" in Beijing on Thursday.
China accounts for more than half of the world's solar-heated water consumption as well as for half of the world's annual output of solar water heating systems, the report said.
By 2006, the coverage of solar water heaters in operation in China hit 100 million square meters, benefiting about 200 million people. The annual production capacity has reached 20 million square meters in 2006, up 20 percent on the previous year, according to the report.
The report also noted that, except for solar water heaters, solar-powered appliances are developing in China, including solar energy heating and cooling devices, solar energy air-conditioner systems and seawater desalination systems.
The ERI's deputy head Li Junfeng said China would continue to promote and popularize the integration of solar energy equipment into the design and construction of houses. Solar water heaters will also enter more households in the country's rural areas and towns.
"By utilizing solar energy, China can save more than 50 million tons of coal in 2010," Li estimated.
The NDRC's vice minister Chen Deming said earlier this year that China will soon promulgate policies to stipulate compulsory installation of solar energy equipment in the construction sector.
It is the first time the International Solar Energy Society's Solar World Congress has been held in China since it was initiated more than two decades ago.