China has installed 24.4 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV in the first six months of 2017, including an extraordinary 13.5GW in the month of June alone, as developers rushed to complete installations to capitalise on a higher feed in tariff that expired on July 1.
According to the data from the China PV Industry Association (CPIA), the 24.4GW of new capacity – a combination of large and small scale – represented an increase of 9 per cent year on year. It is also equivalent capacity to Australia’s entire coal fleet, and more than four times its installed solar capacity.
The boost in installations was also accompanied by a 28 per cent jump in the amount of solar cells produced in the first half to 32GW, while the output of solar modules rose 26 per cent to 34GW.
“June was prime time for developers making sure their systems were connected to the grid in order to enjoy the 2016 FITs, which were reduced between 13 and 19 per cent from July 1,” consultant Frank Haugwitz wrote recently.
Haugwitz, the director of Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory Co, says China is now poised to smash through its 2020 target of 105GW total capacity for solar, with installations already reaching 102GW, and another 20GW to 25GW expected in each of the following three years.
That, he says, will take total capacity by the end of 2020 to between 166GW and 187GW – more than three times the total capacity of Australia’s grid – all in solar.
Total installed solar PV power generation capacity amounts to 101.82GW, made up of 84.39GW at utility-scale and 14.73GW distributed solar PV.
Giles Parkinson is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the former editor of Climate Spectator.