• China deployed 34.54 GW of new PV capacity within first 9 months of 2018, showing a drop of 20% in installations on annual basis
  • Large scale PV addition during the period was 17.4 GW, going down 37% from last year, but distributed PV grew 12% to 17.14 GW
  • Most of this capacity was deployed in Eastern China that accounted for 8.58 GW or 24.8% of the total
  • Cumulative PV capacity was 164.74 GW, contributing to the total renewable energy capacity of 706 GW

In the first 3 quarters of 2018, China installed 34.54 GW of new PV capacity in the country. Reuters says this is a drop of 20% compared to 43 GW installed a year back. The National Energy Administration (NEA) shared this data while addressing a press conference in Beijing on October 30, 2018.

Large scale solar power plants registered annual decline of 37% making up 17.4 GW of the 34.54 GW number. Distributed PV reported an increase of 12% in capacity addition that added up to 17.14 GW.

Between January 2018 to June 2018, China added 24.3 GW of new PV capacity with distributed generation claiming 12.2 GW of the total (see China Installed 24.3 GW PV In H1/2018). While NEA generally only provides information for the cumulative of the quarters, in Q1/2018 the addition was 9.65 GW, followed by 14.65 GW in Q2/2018, resulting in 24.3 GW in H1/2018. Hence, Q3/2018 should have seen the addition of around 10.2 GW in total to arrive at the number of 34.54 GW.

Out of the newly installed capacity in 9M/2018, East China deployed the maximum with 8.58 GW accounting for 24.8% of the total, followed by 8.42 GW or 24.4% in North China, and 5.87 GW or 17% in Central China, among other regions. Maximum distributed PV growth took place in Zhejiang, Shandong, and Henan regions.

On cumulative level, installed PV capacity in China at the end of September 2018 was 164.74 GW, with utility scale PV contributing 117.94 GW, and distributed generation adding up 46.8 GW.

China had stunned the world in May 2018 when it announced terminating subsidy support to large scale solar installations; it focusses now instead on distributed generation, disrupting the business plans of several companies across the globe and resulting in glut of modules and solar product price drops. Since the decision was announced on May 31, the incident is referred to as 5/31 or 531.

NEA said it accepts that the growth of distributed PV is relatively fast, including its poverty alleviation projects, which has remained untouched.

Overall, China’s aggregate renewable energy capacity increased 12% YoY to 706 GW, comprising 348 GW hydropower including pumped storage, 176 GW wind power, 165 GW PV and 16.91 GW biomass.

In the first 9 months of the year, China added 55.96 GW of new renewable energy capacity accounting for 69% of all new power installations.