After continued strong performance and ever-increasing expectations, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has this week elevated its 2017 solar installation forecast for China to record highs of 54 gigawatts.
China installed a total of 34.2 GW (gigawatts) of new solar PV capacity in 2016, which itself was up significantly on original forecasts and expectations. But for anyone keeping score, China has had a mammoth year when it comes to solar installations — and that’s following a weak first quarter, in which it “only” installed 7.21 GW.
By the time August came around, however, expectations were thrown out the window — bathwater, baby, and all. China’s National Energy Administration confirmed in early-August that it had installed a massive 24.4 GW in the first half of 2017, including as much as 16 or 17 GW in the second quarter alone, and 13.5 GW in the month of June!
This was followed in July by 10.52 GW, according to independent solar industry advisory firm Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory (AECEA).
As a result, by the end of the first half of 2017, China exceeded its solar capacity installation targets that are part of its 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) of 105 GW. Additionally, at the time this was announced, China revealed it expected even further significant solar capacity additions, with at least 5.5 GW worth of solar projects qualifying for its “Top Runner” program and another 8 GW of ‘Poverty Alleviation’ schemes. At the time, China predicted total solar capacity additions for 2017 might hit between 40 and 45 GW.
A month later, analysis published this week by EnergyTrend, a division of TrendForce, predicted that China’s solar demand has been so strong in 2017 that it might install as much as 48 GW and push total global solar demand past the 100 GW mark for the first time ever.
Fast-forward yet again to this week, and market research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has been forced to revise its own forecasts for Chinese solar installations in 2017, and raised the stakes on all previous forecasts as well, by predicting that China will install a total of 54 GW worth of solar in 2017. This is an absurd amount of solar, and an even more absurd jump on BNEF’s original forecast made back in July of “more than 30 GW.”
“The amount of rooftop solar plants and projects aimed at easing poverty were more than expected and developers rushed to build some ground-mounted solar projects before they have been allocated subsidies,” said Yvonne Liu, a BNEF analyst in Beijing.
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