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Updated October 05, 2020

China installed an estimated 16 GW of new PV generation capacity in the January-August period. Of which, 4.5 GW of solar was connected to the grid during July–August.

Solar additions for the first half of the year was 11.52 GW, according to the National Energy Administration.

Of the 16 GW of new PV installations, 8.9 GW was installed in the form of  concentrated solar power (CSP) and 7.2 GW came from distributed PV. In July alone, China deployed a total of 3 GW of fresh PV capacity, with grounded-mounted and distributed generation PV having shared a similar amount of capacity. The sheer number of new ground-mounted solar added in July included the postponed projects from last year’s June 30 installation rush, according to PV Men.

Distributed PV (including residential PV) comprised over 80% of the 1.5 GW of new capacity added in August. In other words, it held the lion’s share of the new PV additions in that month—when fewer postponed projects were commissioned, and less new solar came online than the same period last year due to price hikes across the supply chain.

Meanwhile, there was significantly less new installed capacity of commercial and industrial distributed solar. The reason behind is that most C&I projects are unsubsidized, making them vulnerable to increases in module prices. With yearly rate of return falling short of target due to price increases, the installation volume dropped significantly.

According to figures from the China Electricity Council, the average hourly solar energy generation during January–August stood at 897 hours, two more hours than the corresponding period last year.

With the final quarter approaching, PV plant developers are now rushing to connect projects to the grid. Starting this October, modules will be delivered to a total of 10 GW of projects auctioned by eight state-owned firms that included China Datang Corporation, China General Nuclear Power Group, and China National Nuclear Corporation over the previous quarters. And based on PV Men’s estimation of the amount of capacity auctioned in China and publicly available information, around 8.5 GW needs to be commissioned by the end of this year. Some 15 GW will be commissioned in the three months to the end of December, according to module suppliers.

Please note that the amount of new installed capacity varies from estimation to estimation, and the figures published by the government will prevail.


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