China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) released that the country’s solar installation capacity in the first quarter of 2017 reached 7.21GW, nationwide, including 2.43GW of distributed PV generation (DG) systems. The installation figure of DG segment rapidly increased 151% compared to 1Q16, representing a strong trend in China.
NEA’s data shows that the installation capacity in 1Q17 remained almost the same with in 1Q16’s 7.14GW. However, with 4.78GW of centralized solar projects installed and 2.43GW of DG systems installed, the DG segment represents a strong installation boom year-over-year.
In 1Q17, the top three provinces of solar installation are Anhui Province, Zhejiang Province, and Henan Province, whose installations were respectively 1.08GW, 1.05GW, and 1.01GW. According to the data, China’s Mid-East Region added 6.39GW of solar in the quarter, representing 89% of all new installation capacity.
Cumulatively, China’s solar installation capacity has reached 84.63GW (including 12.75GW of DG systems), which is close to the county’s “110GW and above” target released with the “Thirteenth Five-Year Plan.” However, whether China can fully achieve this goal will be determined by adequate policies as well as price trend across the whole solar industry. On the other hand, China’s solar power curtailment issue remained unsolved. NEA’s data shows that the solar electricity generated in 1Q17 was 21,400,000,000kWh, increasing by 80% year-on-year, while the abandoned volume was 2,300,000,000kWh. The nationwide rate of solar curtailment was approximately 10.7%.
Although the rates in Ningxia Province and Gansu has rapidly dropped 10 percentage and 20 percentage to 10% and 19%, respectively, compared to last year, the rates in Qinghai Province, Shaanxi Province, and Inner Mongolia have increased to 9%, 11%, and 8%. Furthermore, the curtailment rate in Xinjian worsened to 39%. The solar curtailment issue will still be a major issue for China’s PV market.