China’s Cumulative Installed Solar Capacity Stands at Nearly 180 GW: NEA

The country added 5.2 GW in Q1 2019


The National Energy Association’s (NEA) figures suggest that at the end of March 2019, China’s solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation reached 179.7 GW, an increase of 28% year-on-year, with the addition of 5.2 GW in Q1 of 2019.

The installed capacity of grid-connected solar power reached 122.6 GW, an increase of 23%, adding 2.4 GW during Q1 2019; while distributed solar PV capacity reached 53.41 GW, an increase of 43% after 2.8 GW was added in Q1.

China Solar PV Installations (MW), 2010-2019 YTD

Of the new installed solar capacity in the first quarter of 2019, North China accounted for 1.457 GW, accounting for 28% of the total. The new installed capacity in the northeast region was 82 MW, accounting for 1.6%, while East China accounted for 1.746  GW, which made up 28.4%. Moreover, Central China installed 798 MW, accounting for 15.3% of the capacity while the Northwest region saw installations of 825 MW, making up 15.9%. The NEA data reveals that the newly installed capacity in Southern China was 559 MW, which comprised 10.8% of the installations.

In April 2019, Mercom had reported that China installed 5.2 GW of solar capacity in Q1 of 2019. When compared to Q1 2018, this was a nearly 40% decline in installation numbers in which China had installed 9.65 GW of solar PV capacity.

Recently, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and NEA  jointly released the 2019’s first batch of grid parity projects for both wind and solar PV amounting to 20.76 GW. The 20.76 GW are split into the wind (4.51 GW), solar PV (14.78 GW) and “distributed trading pilot projects” (1.47 GW). The announced solar PV grid parity projects are distributed across 16 provinces. Guangdong with 2.38 GW is taking the lead, according to data from the Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory Company Limited) AECEA. The 14.78 GW consists of 168 projects, bringing the average project capacity to approximately 90 MW.

Though there was a temporary decline in newly installed capacity, China’s PV module production this year rose 47.5% year-on-year to 11.8 GW during the January-February period.

According to statistics from the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s exports of PV cells reached $170 million and 1.3 GW in the first two months of 2019, up 2.1% year-on-year. Exports of PV modules for the period reached $2.4 billion in value and 10 GW in volume, up 21.9%.

According to statistics from China Customs, exports of PV modules reached 15 GW in the first quarter of 2019, up 70% year-on-year. Exports in March continued to increase following the trend that had begun in the fourth quarter of 2018, exceeding 6 GW in a single month.

It is important to note here that China is currently the largest solar PV market in the world.

Soumik is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, Soumik was a correspondent for UNI, New Delhi covering the Northeast region for seven years. He has also worked as an Asia Correspondent for Washington DC-based Hundred Reporters. He has contributed as a freelancer to several national and international digital publications with a focus on data-based investigative stories on environmental corruption, hydro power projects, energy transition and the circular economy. Soumik is an Economics graduate from Scottish Church College, Calcutta University.