• At the end of March 2020, China’s total installed solar PV capacity reached 208 GW, with the addition of 3.95 GW in Q1/2020
  • Power generation from solar PV capacity during the quarter was 19.9% more than last year at 52.76 billion kWh
  • Local media says the administration has determined 47 GW grid space for solar power capacity in 2020

The National Energy Administration (NEA) of China says the country installed 3.95 GW of new solar PV capacity during the first 3 months of 2020, contributed by 2.23 GW of utility scale PV and 1.72 GW of distributed generation projects. This is a strong decline from 5.2 GW installed in the country in Q1/2019, as was shared by the Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory Co (AECEA) referring to the National Renewable Energy Center Data. Notably, Q1/2020 was the time when China was battling COVID-19 pandemic. However, last year only 30 GW new solar capacity was installed in China, this year it is supposed to be more.

Most of the new capacity addition took place in Southern China with 990 MW. Power generation from solar in the first quarter was 52.76 billion kWh of the aggregate 392.34 billion kWh from all renewable energy sources, registering an increase of 19.9% on annual basis.

Altogether, the cumulative installed solar power capacity of China till the end of March 2020 reached 208 GW, out of 802 GW renewable energy capacity. On a cumulative basis, the NEA says this is a growth of 15.6% for solar PV segment.

The NEA recently tasked its power grid companies to calculate the amount of clean power from wind and solar that can be accommodated into the grid in 2020 with a view to promote the expansion and stable growth of these industries.

A Chinese local media report claimed there is enough grid capacity to connected 47 GW of solar in 2020, and for wind it would be 37 GW this year. It added that as overseas PV market has ‘basically shut down’ due to COVID-19 pandemic, domestic demand is now the ‘main battlefield’ for companies operating in the clean energy space. In such a situation, knowledge of grid availability is a helpful factor as the administration works to ensure power curtailment is curbed.

In this direction, the NEA has launched a draft on establishing and improving a long-term mechanism for clean energy consumption and is seeking public comments. Interested stakeholders have time till June 19, 2020 to offer their feedback and recommendations. The document can be viewed on NEA’s website.

Notably, several market intelligence firms forecast the Chinese solar market to grow between 33.4 GW to 45 GW in 2020 due to COVID-19 related challenges. If these assumptions are correct, there would be enough grid capacity to accommodate the newly installed solar capacity in 2020.