• Reuters says China’s NEA has decided to block new solar power development in three regions of the country because of grid unavailability
  • No more solar power deployment will be allowed in far western Gansu, Xinjiang and Tibet because of this decision
  • While China is still working on restructuring of its terrestrial solar program, Bloomberg reports the country is now aiming for solar in space, planning to set up solar power capacity in the stratosphere between 2021 and 2025
  • A1 MW solar facility in space is being planned by 2030, and eventually it will then be taken to larger generators

After having shocked the global PV world, including its own solar industry, on May 31, 2018 when it pulled back state support for new large-scale solar project development, the world’s largest market has now announced it will block new solar power projects in the western provinces of Gansu, Xinjiang as well as Tibet as grids have reached their capacity limits, reported Reuters.

Reuters says the National Energy Administration (NEA) took the decision after the state’s warning system declared a ‘red alert’ suggesting no more solar power plants to be constructed in these regions as of now for fear of overcapacity since the transmission capacity here is insufficient.

While Gansu and Xinjiang aren’t new to the restrictions, it is the first time China has imposed this restriction in Tibet.

Over time, several renewable energy power plants have had to face curtailment issues in China due to grid constraints, leading to a loss of revenue for developers and mounting bills for the government. Reuters says payment backlog for the Chinese government for subsidized solar power projects adds up to $20 billion.

In 2018, China installed 44.4 GW solar PV capacity with its cumulative number reaching 174.63 GW (see China Installed 44 GW Solar PV In 2018: NEA).

While China still works on restructuring its terrestrial solar program, the world’s biggest PV market is contemplating expanding its PV reach to the outer space. Referring to China’s Science and Technology Daily, Bloomberg reported the Asian giant is preparing to build a solar power station in space.

The initial plan is to develop a smaller power station with undisclosed capacity in the stratosphere between 2021 and 2025. Next step will be to set up 1 MW level solar facility in space by 2030, and eventually larger generators.

An experimental base in the city of Chongqing is already under construction, says Bloomberg.

China’s space program is backed by an annual budget of $8 billion. Recently, it made news when its lunar probe landed on the other side of the moon in January 2019.