China Installs 46 GW of Solar Power Capacity in Q1 2024, Up 36% YoY

The country's cumulative solar installations stood at 660 GW


China installed 45.74 GW of solar power capacity in the first quarter of 2024, a 35.8% year-over-year (YoY) growth, according to the National Energy Administration (NEA). The country also installed 15.5 GW of wind, 6.39 GW of thermal, and 1.81 GW of hydroelectric capacity.

The country’s cumulative solar installations stood at 660 GW at the end of the quarter.

China Solar Capacity in Q2 2024

As of the end of March, the country’s total installed power generation capacity reached about 2.99 TW. Solar power made up 660 GW, wind 456.6 GW, hydroelectric 423.4 GW, thermal power stood at 1.39 TW, while nuclear power accounted for 57 GW.

From January to March, the country’s major power generating companies completed project investments of RMB136.5 billion (~$18.84 billion), a YoY increase of 7.7%. The investment in power grid projects was RMB76.6 billion (~$10.57 billion), a YoY increase of 14.7%.

Between January and March, the cumulative average utilization of power generation equipment nationwide was 844 hours, 24 hours lower than last year’s corresponding period. During this time frame, nuclear power plants operated for 1,828 hours, marking a decrease of 36 hours compared to the previous year.

Solar power generation lasted 279 hours, down by 24 hours from the previous year. Wind power facilities were operational for 596 hours, a reduction of 19 hours year-over-year. Thermal power plants ran for 1,128 hours, showing an increase of 31 hours from last year. Hydroelectric power stations operated for 555 hours, reflecting a rise of 11 hours from the previous year.

China added 216.9 GW of solar capacity in 2023, marking a 148 % YoY increase compared to 87.4 GW in 2022.

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