Distributed solar in China heated up in 2017, says energy regulator

The country installed 17.23GW over 11 months last year, a 300% increase, according to the NEA.

The installation of distributed solar facilities in China grew 300 percent year-on-year between January and November 2017, according to the country’s energy market regulator, the National Energy Administration.

The NEA said in a statement that over the 11-month period, China’s solar market showed three new key developments – one of which was the significant acceleration of distributed solar installation. The new installation capacity over the period was 17.23GW – 3.7 times that of the same period in 2016. As of end 2016, China had a cumulative installed distributed solar capacity of 10.32GW.

The central and eastern regions of China became hotspots for solar development during the period, with a combined new capacity of 23.18GW. However, the western and northern areas experienced a 17 percent year-on-year decrease in new installation. In addition, the country’s “Top Runner” programme, which is designed to encourage development of solar-related technologies and installation with competitive prices, has been showing good progress, said the NEA, adding that technological advancements have significantly lowered project costs.

The NEA noted in a statement that total solar power generation in the 11-month period exceeded 100,000GWh, with large-scale solar farms contributing around 87 percent and distributed solar facilities the remaining 13 percent.

As at the end of November 2017, China’s cumulative installed solar capacity stood at nearly 126GW, a 67 percent year-on-year increase.