China is on track to install a record-smashing 50GW of solar PV in 2017, with latest data showing that the nation has so far installed around 42GW, taking its total installed PV capacity to around 120GW.
According to the latest report from Asia Europe Clean Energy Consultants (AECEA), China needs to add just under 3GW of new solar in each remaining month of 2017 to reach 50GW, and deliver a second consecutive record breaking year.
This should not be a problem for the world’s leading market, particularly considering a massive 25GW was installed in June and July alone – although that figure was boosted by a rush to get in before cuts to the feed-in tariff.
A similar pattern emerges in 2016 data, although this year, AECEA says momentum has remained strong, thanks to grid curtailment across West China, the lowering of FiTs and an increasing number of provinces and major cities offering additional solar incentives.
And while much of China’s solar growth this year has been of the large-scale variety, the report notes that distributed solar generation in China has also been impressive.
According to the figures, a total of 15GW was installed on rooftops of homes and businesses around China in the first three quarters of 2017, marking a 255 per cent year-on-year increase in uptake, and taking the nation towards a DG total of 25-28GW by the end of the year.
AECEA says this sort of growth in small-scale solar installs puts China on target to meet the target of its 13th Five Year Plan, to have 60GW of distributed solar PV generation installed by 2020.
The report also notes that, since 2010, the share of renewable energy in China’s electricity mix has increased by 8 per cent, while coal – which last year supplied 65 per cent of China’s power – decreased by 11 per cent.
And it points the energy storage sector as China’s next “Bull” market. According to AECEA data, an estimated 200 energy storage manufacturers in China last year produced a combined capacity of 120GWh of energy storage that is scheduled to be operational by 2018.
In the longer term, the report adds, battery production rates could increase by as much as 40 per cent this year and total around 270GWh by 2020.
In 2016, China’s lithium-ion battery shipments increased by 80 per cent, year-on-year in 2016.