All around the world, the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic is having a negative effect on virtually every industry. Solar power is no exception. In China, the rate of solar installations dipped by about 25% in the first quarter of the year compared to the same quarter in 2019, but the total was still a respectable 3.95 gigawatts of new solar generating capacity. China’s National Energy Association says 2.23 gigawatts (GW) of large scale PV power was added along with 1.72 GW of smaller, distributed solar systems.
Traditionally, much of China’s new solar capacity is installed in less populous areas in the western and northern sections of the country, but the NEA says over 60% of new installations in the Q1 of 2020 were in the more densely populated areas in eastern and southern areas. Also, construction of a number of ultra high voltage transmission lines that will connect solar installations in the west and north to population centers in the east and south were begun.
Total power consumption in China during the first quarter of this year was down 6.5% compared to Q1 of 2019, which led to a 40% rise in curtailment of solar power to a record of 1.75 TWh. The NEA expects the curtailment rate to have reduced during the current three-month window as the reopening of industry has seen power consumption rebound, according to a report by PV Magazine. A report this month from the World Energy Forum says China is only one of 11 countries who have succeeded at keeping their solar industry growing during the shutdowns caused by the coronavirus.
Solar Plus Storage In Qinghai
One of those new ultra high voltage transmission lines will be used to send power from a new 202.8 MW/MWh solar-plus-storage power plant being built in the desert in China’s northwestern province of Qinghai by Huanghe Hydropower Development. a state-owned utility company. The solar-plus-storage project is part of a 3,182 MW solar development plan Huanghe Hydropower announced in December. Chinese inverter maker Sungrow will supply the 1500 V, SG250HX string inverters as well as storage solutions for the facility.
The solar-plus-storage plant will be the first phase of a 16 GW renewable energy hub which will include 10 GW of solar generation capacity. Sungrow tells PV Magazine that the solar-plus-storage facility is being equipped with a sub-array energy management function able to ensure smooth power output while improving prediction accuracy for solar power generation.
“The customized, AC-coupled, low-voltage design can guarantee cost-savings for the customer,” Sungrow said in a statement. “Furthermore, the flexibly-built microgrid system with Sungrow PV and energy storage system is able to supply electricity in the early construction period and slash the construction time.”