China has installed 22 GW worth of grid-connected solar PV in the first half of 2016, according to official figures from the country’s National Energy Administration.
According to PV-Tech, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) announced at a Chinese Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) event in Beijing that the country had logged 22 GW of grid-connected solar PV in the first half of the year, with a phenomenal 11.3 GW in June alone.
However, though the numbers are high, they will not necessarily be as accurate as China’s solar industry may like us to believe.
First of all, at least 3 GW of the total 22 GW was actually installed last year, but was not connected to the grid until sometime during the first half of 2016. Figures published by IHS in early July showed that at least 4.5 GW of the total 18.6 GW announced to be installed in China during 2015 was in fact not connected to the grid, and was at the time still awaiting connection.
Speaking to PV-Tech this week, Yvonne Liu, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) Chinese solar market analyst added that “The NEA believes there may still be some duplicate records in their data.”
Another way the ‘official’ numbers may be somewhat less than accurate is, according to Liu, down to just what “connected to the grid” means and entails. She says:
“Another reason is that many projects are actually partially commissioned. For example, in order to connect to the grid, defined by starting power generation, by 30 June, a 10 MW project might have commissioned only 7 MW and leave the remaining 3 MW to July or even August. But currently it is still counted as 10 MW in official statistics. The NEA estimates that about 1-2 GW will be removed from the 22 GW in the final number.”
Regardless of the fine-tuning required for an accurate numerical representation, it’s an impressive installation record — especially considering at the same time a year earlier, China was boasting of solar installations of 7.7 GW. The country also reported earlier this year that its total cumulative installed solar capacity had surpassed 50 GW.