• China added 11.4 GW of new solar PV capacity in first 6 months of 2019, according to the National Energy Administration (NEA)
  • This comprises 6.82 GW of large-scale and 4.58 GW of distributed solar PV capacity
  • Cumulative solar capacity till June 2019 was 186 GW contributing to a total renewable energy capacity of 750 GW
  • Solar PV power generation during the period improved 30% annually to 106.7 billion kWh
  • With a strong H2 ahead, China expects to add over 40 GW in 2019

Between January 2019 and June 2019, China installed 11.4 GW of new solar PV capacity which came from 6.82 GW of large-scale solar and 4.58 GW of distributed solar PV, announced the country’s National Energy Administration (NEA). This is a decline of 53% from 24.3 GW added in the first 6 months of 2018 (see China Installed 24.3 GW PV In H1/2018).

Yet, this is still more than the 9.09 GW of wind and 1.82 GW of grid connected hydropower added in H1/2019. All these technologies contributed to taking the country’s cumulative renewable energy capacity to 750 GW of which solar’s share was 186 GW at the end of June 2019.

Most of the 11.4 GW solar was installed in the northwestern region of the country, where 3.43 GW was deployed, followed by 3.3 GW in North China, 2.28 GW in East China, 1.36 GW in Central China, 770 MW in South China and 260 MW in Northeast China.

Solar PV power generation during the reporting period was 106.7 billion kWh, improving 30% YoY.

China has been shifting to competitive auctions instead of encouraging traditional feed-in-tariffs (FIT) for solar PV growth. It recently awarded 22.79 GW of large-scale and distributed generation solar power projects; developers will receive RMB 1.7 billion ($247 million) in subsidies provided the projects are grid connected in time (see Subsidy For 22.79 GW Chinese Solar Projects In 2019). While 366 large-scale solar projects resulted in an installed capacity of 18.12 GW, 3,555 distributed generation projects accounted for 4.66 GW.The government says these projects can avail an average power subsidy of RMB 0.0645 ($0.0094) per kWh, which is very low but intended as the government is pushing towards subsidy free projects.

Through the bidding, the photovoltaic power generation subsidies have been effectively promoted, and the confidence in the price level of photovoltaics has been further strengthened,” said Li Chuangjun, Deputy Director of the NEA’s New Energy and Renewable Energy Resources division. “In the next step, we will earnestly sum up experience, further improve the working mechanism, maintain the continuity and stability of the policy, plan ahead, and arrange early bidding-related work next year.”

In another report on the supply side of solar released by the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA), solar wafer production of domestic makers improved 26% in H1/2019 to 63 GW, while solar cell manufacturing increased YoY by 31% to 51 GW and module production grew 12% to 47 GW, reported Reuters.

Chinese manufacturers earned $10.6 billion from total exports in H1/2019, said CPIA. While its sales to the US declined by more than 90% YoY due to the trade conflict and resultant tariffs imposed leaving only $31.4 million or 0.24% of the total share coming from the country, Europe was a star destination for Chinese companies.

According to Wu Shengwu, an official with the Chinese Industry Ministry, “In the first half of 2019, the overseas market was the main driving force behind the maintenance of growth in China’s (solar) manufacturing,” but “In the second half of the year … the domestic market is expected to recover,”reported Reuters. He said that China is expected to add a total of over 40 GW in 2019. Wu spoke at the summer conference of CPIA in Beijing on July 25/26.