China Adds 217 GW of Solar Power Capacity in 2023

Energy storage capacity nearly quadrupled to 31.4 GW from 8.7 GW in 2022


China’s cumulative installed power capacity reached approximately 2.92 TW, a year-over-year (YoY) increase of 13.9%, with solar power accounting for 609.49 GW, a YoY 55.2% jump.

According to China’s National Energy Administration (NEA), the country added 216.9 GW of solar capacity in 2023, marking a 148 % YoY increase compared to 87.4 GW in 2022.

Major power generation enterprises invested CNY967.5 billion (~$151.17 billion) in power projects, representing a 30.1% YoY increase. Additionally, the investment in power grid projects amounted to CNY527.5 billion (~$82.42 billion), a 5.4% YoY growth.

Energy Storage

According to the NEA’s announcement, China experienced a substantial rise in energy storage capacity, increasing almost fourfold from 8.7 GW in 2022 to 31.4 GW. This represents a YoY growth of 260%.

The predominant technology utilized for these systems was lithium-ion batteries, although the total also includes other technologies such as compressed air storage, excluding pumped hydro storage facilities.

The NEA had reported nearly doubling energy storage capacity in the first half of the year, reaching 17.3 GW by July.

This boom in battery storage aligns with the provincial government’s efforts to maximize the capture of energy from intermittent sources like wind and solar.

NEA said that over 20 regions in China have introduced plans for energy storage. Clean energy storage has attracted over CNY100 billion ($14 billion) since 2021.

The increase in renewable energy capacity is expected to allow China to reduce its reliance on coal to meet growing energy demands, potentially indicating that the country has peaked in emissions ahead of its 2030 target.

By injecting $130 billion into the solar sector in 2023, China was poised to control over 80% of the global polysilicon, wafer, cell, and module manufacturing capacity within the next three years, according to Wood Mackenzie.

Production costs of solar modules dropped 42% in China over the past year, settling at $0.15 per watt, providing Chinese manufacturers with a substantial cost advantage over their international counterparts, Wood Mackenzie reported.