China’s National Energy Administration last Friday confirmed previous reports that the country had installed a mammoth total of 24.4 GW worth of new solar across the first half of 2017, up from 22 GW in the first half of 2015 and only 7.7 GW in the first half of 2015.
Last month we reported that the China PV Industry Association (CPIA), the country’s solar PV association, had published figures that showed China had installed 24.4 GW (gigawatts) of new solar across the first half of 2017. That included as much as 16 or 17 GW in the second quarter, well up on the 7.21 GW that was installed in the first quarter of the year.
Now, figures released by China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) confirm July’s preliminary figures, highlighting a 9% year-over-year growth for the country’s solar deployment. Amazingly, June ran away with phenomenal numbers, seeing 13.5 GW added — over half of the total for the first half of the year.
The total 24.4 GW was broken out as 17.29 GW worth of utility-scale solar and 7.11 GW worth of distributed solar.
Analysis from the Asia Europe Clean Energy Advisory (AECEA) found that three provinces were responsible for over half of all rooftop solar deployment — the Anhui province with 1.38 GW, the Zhejiang province with 1.25 GW, and the Shandong province with 1.23 GW.
This bring’s China’s cumulative capacity up to 101.82 GW, while the country’s solar curtailment has fallen significantly, down 4.5% year-over-year to 37 billion kWh as of June 30. Specific regions are not fairing as well as the national average, however, with curtailment of up to 26% curtailment in the province of Xinjiang, and 22% in the province of Gansu.
Analysts further expect that China will surpass 2016’s record-breaking installation figure of 34.2 GW, due in part to national policies driving speedy completion of projects. Further, Mercom Capital Group explains that “demand in China going into second half is a lot stronger due to the 5.5 GW Top Runner Program, which carries a deadline of September 30, 2017, and the Poverty Alleviation program (all year).”
Looking beyond 2017, the NEA last month provided guidance through to 2020 for its solar installation expectations, expecting cumulative installations to reach between 190 GW and 200 GW at the end of the country’s 13th Five Year Plan. Analysts suggest that total cumulative installed solar might actually go higher than that, considering that the new guidance doesn’t include distributed solar PV totals and poverty alleviation project targets, which means it could go as high as 230 GW by 2020.