China Installed 18.6 GW Of Solar PV In 2015, But Was All Of It Connected?

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China’s National Energy Administration was proud of announcing it had installed 18.6 GW of solar PV in 2015, but new research suggests that not all of that figure was actually connected to the grid.

china solar panelsNew research from IHS shows that at least 4.5 GW of the total 18.6 GW worth of solar PV installed in China during 2015 was never connected to the grid, and is still awaiting connection. Additionally, though Chinese inverter shipments reached an historic 22.8 GW in 2015 — with 7.5 GW marked as write-down or channel inventory — and are all likely to be installed in PV systems, though will not necessarily be allowed to be connected to the grid.

IHS concluded that China installed 18.6 GW of new solar PV in 2015, up from the Chinese National Energy Administration’s 15.1 GW reported back in the beginning of 2016. However, massive grid-connection delays ensured that at least 4.5 GW worth of solar was not connected to the grid, according to Frank Xie, senior research analyst with IHS Technology.

In fact, according to Xie, the number of installed systems that were not connected to the Chinese grid increased dramatically during 2015 “due to time constraints of the grid-connection testing process.” Xie continues, saying that “potential power curtailment and a high probability of missing grid connections forced gigawatt-scale projects to relocate from Ningxia to nearby provinces in 2016.”

IHS also concluded that, because China is in the process of shifting its PV market structure from solely ground-mount to a mix of ground-mount, commercial, and residential, China’s inverter product mix will change to accommodate more three-phase low-power inverters and string inverters.


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Joshua S Hill

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One thought on “China Installed 18.6 GW Of Solar PV In 2015, But Was All Of It Connected?

  • In making year-on-year comparisons, it’s vital to use a consistent basis. The grid connection problem is not new and affected installations in previous years. So you have to look at installations for both 2014 and 2015, or connection for both years.

    You do have to wonder how much of the connection delay reflects the influence at provincial level of the coal interests that will lose from the solar output. If that’s so, the problem won’t last long. Unlike the Obama administration, the Chinese leadership really is running a war on coal. At national level, cosl is out of friends and influence.

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