- NEA says China installed 53 GW new solar in 2021 of which 29 GW came from distributed solar alone
- Cumulative grid connected solar PV capacity exceeded 300 GW milestone to reach 306 GW at the end of 2021
- Distributed solar alone accounts for 107.5 GW of the cumulative making it the largest market in the segment globally
China’s cumulative installed grid connected solar PV capacity at the end of 2021 exceeded the 300 GW level to touch 306 GW with the addition of 53 GW in 2021, declared the country’s National Energy Administration (NEA).
This is China’s largest annual number for grid connected solar for any year to date. It represents an increase of around 10% on annual basis since 2020 additions were a total of 48.2 GW (see China Installed 48.2 GW Solar PV Capacity In 2020).
It was distributed solar that led the installations in 2021 contributing 55% or 29 GW to the total, exceeding the 50% mark for the 1st time – and what’s interesting is that 21.5 GW of these installations came from the residential segment alone.
Overall, distributed solar PV capacity accounts for about 1/3rd of the cumulative with 107.5 GW grid connected, putting China on top for the largest distributed solar market of the world.
Even though NEA does not provide a quarterly break-up of 2021 additions, since China had installed 25.55 GW in 9M/2021, one can safely assume that during Q4/2021 alone the country would have grid connected around 27.45 GW (see China Installed 25.5 GW New Solar In 9M/2021).
NEA celebrates the annual additions of 53 GW in the 1st year of the country’s 14th-Five Year Plan as ranking 1st in the world for the 9th consecutive year. But the newly installed capacity is still less than the previous Chinese Photovoltaic Industry Association’s (CPIA) forecasted range of 55 GW to 65 GW for 2021. CPIA had later lowered the forecast to between 45 GW to 55 GW citing high prices for raw materials.
Along with high raw material prices and their short supply, the year 2021 was also marred by an electricity crisis in China and high shipping costs. Amid supply chain concerns, developers pushed some projects to 2022 which bodes well for this year’s installations as CPIA expects the country to exit 2022 with around 75 GW new solar.