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Published on April 26th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill

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Total Cumulative Solar Capacity In China Passes 50 GW

April 26th, 2016 by  


China’s total cumulative solar capacity has surpassed 50 GW, after the country’s National Energy Administration revealed that the first quarter saw 7.14 GW of new solar capacity added.

According to figures released by China’s National Energy Administration (NEA), the first quarter of 2016 saw the country’s solar industry add 7.14 GW in capacity, bringing its cumulative solar capacity up to 50.3 GW, up 52%. In total, China’s solar capacity is made up of 43.29 GW of ground-mounted solar PV power plants, and another 7.03 GW of distributed solar PV.

China’s north, east, central, and southern regions all installed more than 1 GW of new capacity, installing respectively 1.5 GW, 1.31 GW, 1.3 GW, and 1.04 GW.

Overall, the quarter saw 6.17 GW of ground-mounted PV plants installed, and 970 MW of distributed PV.

Unsurprisingly, grid curtailment of solar power remains a serious issue, with 1.9 billion kWh out of the total 11.8 billion kWh of PV generation was lost. China is seeking to mitigate renewable grid curtailment by prioritizing renewable energy over fossil fuel where possible, and by building out infrastructure across the country. Xinjiang, Gansu, and Ningxia were the three provinces with the highest levels of curtailment — 52%, 39%, and 20% respectively.






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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.



  • neroden

    I have heard rumors of undocumented rooftop solar (which would not be present in these statistics) hidden on roofs in certain parts of China. I don’t know how much credence to give these rumors, but if it happens in Spain… why not in China.

    • Najeeb Ullah

      That is true for small wind turbines too. in the deserts and pastures in inner mangolia and xinjiang people use small wind turbines, that are not documented.

  • Shiggity

    We need to pay attention very closely to their capacity factor numbers.

    Their production rates have shown to be WAY under what the US produces.

    For example, in 2014, China had significantly more wind installed than the US, but the US produced a lot more actual energy for the grid. Same thing is seen with solar pv. The state is installing it faster than it can be properly hooked up and managed.

    Capacity factor!

    • Bob_Wallace

      China has experienced a lot of transmission problems. They’ve had a lot of stranded wind (or partially stranded wind) because there was not adequate transmission to move the electricity generated to market. They are correcting that now.

      I think China might be lagging the US a bit in that they have not been as aggressive when it comes to ‘most advanced’ turbine/blade design and using higher hub heights. But that’s only a guess on my part, I haven’t seen data.

      China will catch up. In some ways China is like the US was after WWII. The general public is willing to work hard in order to make progress rapidly.

      • Matt

        I think they also had/have some issues with the regional government keeping coal running. Some were old sweet heart deal like UK wants to give to Hinkley Point.

        • JamesWimberley

          OT, but the French economy minister Macron, who was until ecently pushing for an early final investment decision by EDF, now expects this be delayed till the autumn. EDF is still a semi-state corporation, so this is a decision not a prognostication.

      • JamesWimberley

        China’s wind turbine manufacturers have rarely managed to back out of their large home market, so it looks as if they are a bit behind technically. That doesn’t hold for solar panels, where Chinese makers dominate the world market.

        The big news in the announcement is the much better regional balance. It’s no longer mainly solar farms on free land in deserts thousands of miles from the cities. The curtailment is still high but being tackled.

  • LookingForward

    The next step for all countries in the world should be prioritising renewables over FF. Germany is an example in that, which is highly disruptive for the price of electricity and therefore the profits of FF.
    Just read an article that another shining example in renewables: California, is not prioritising renewables, but base-load power plants instead and therefore having to dump renewable energy, I mean whiskey tango foxtrot?!

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