Last week the United States and China announced a historic agreement to combat climate change. Under the agreement, China pledged to generate 20% of its electricity from zero-emission sources by 2030. China will need to install nearly 1000 gigawatts (GW) of renewable and nuclear energy to reach that target. How big is 1000 GW? Huge.

Meeting the target should be easy for China: 9.8% of its energy already comes from zero-emission sources, and that share is growing fast. China installed 11.3 GW of solar PV in 2013 alone, more than a 200% increase over the previous year. At that rate, China could exceed its 1000 GW target by 2020 using just solar. Now that’s a Rooftop Revolution.

It’s more proof that renewable energy is a viable, scalable alternative to fossil fuels. And for China, where air pollution is the fourth biggest health risk and leads to between 350,000 and 500,000 premature deaths every year, it also means that millions will breathe easier.

Posted by Leslye Penticoff

Leslye is the Content and Community Manager for Sungevity. She's also an avid coffee drinker and rock climber, and serves on the Board of Directors at Margination, a nonprofit in Troy, NY.