Chinese solar giant Trina Solar has suggested China could exceed its 2015 PV target of nearly 18GW of new capacity, on the back of substantial growth in the country’s uncapped distributed generation market.
In an interview with Deutsche Bank analysts last week, the CFO of Trina – the world’s number one PV manufacturer – noted that of this year’s 17.8GW target in China, there was no limit to rooftop solar projects, so actual installs could exceed targets.
The comment followed confirmation, on Monday, from Beijing’s National Energy Administration that China had connected 5.04GW of solar capacity in the first quarter of 2015 – an amount the Australian government has said would be impossible to install within five years – bringing China’s cumulative total to 33GW.
Utility-scale projects accounted for 4.38GW of China’s Q1 installations, and 1.1GW of capacity was installed in northwestern Xinjiang province. The fact China isn’t setting specific 2015 targets for utility and distributed installations – which it did in 2014 – has widely been expected to make the full-year target easier to hit.
The bullish comments from Trina – which Deutsche Bank has since rated as a “buy” – also followed similar predictions from fellow Chinese solar giant, Yingli Green Energy.
The CEO of Yingli told analysts last month that China’s solar target of 100GW installed by 2020 could be viewed as a minimum, due to the number of factors currently driving demand in the developing country.
The comments were made in a conference call with analysts, after Yingli – now ranked as the world’s second-largest solar panel producer, behind compatriot Trina Solar – reported its 14th consecutive quarterly loss.
In response to a question from Roth Capital’s Philip Shen, Yingli chairman and CEO Liansheng Miao said that China’s continued demand for new energy capacity, its ongoing battle against air pollution and energy poverty, and its focus on economic development, meant the 100GW solar target set in Beijing’s last Five-Year Plan “could be treated as the bottom.”
Trina, meanwhile, told Deutcshe Bank that Chinese solar projects were receiving timely electricity payments, but FiT payments were still facing a 6-12 month backlog, and would be paid quarterly.
The CFO said the government had specifically focused on understanding these issues and finding ways to address them recently.