China has overtaken Germany as the world's solar power leader, with 43 gigawatts of installed generating capacity at the end of 2015, according to data released Thursday by the China Photovoltaic Industry Association, or CPIA.

China increased its photovoltaic (PV) power capacity last year by 40 percent, or 15 GW, to leapfrog Germany, which has total installed capacity of 40 GW, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Although coal remains the Asian giant's leading source of energy, China has ambitious plans in the renewable energy sector.

By 2020, it aims to "increase non-fossil energy to 15 percent of total primary energy consumption," Xinhua said.

The National Energy Administration, the Chinese government agency responsible for formulating and implementing energy development plans and industrial policies, predicts that the country's PV power capacity will triple over the next five years to 150 GW.

CPIA Secretary-General Wang Bohua urged the Chinese government to take steps to promote the development of the solar sector and assist companies with financing, Xinhua reported.