No year-end PV rally in China: Installations come in at 52.8 GW

PV system in China
With national authorities successfully avoiding a year-end rally, 2017 PV installations in China came in at 52.8 GW – Image: JinkoSolar

According to data from China’s National Energy Administration, grid connections of domestic PV systems reached 52.83 GW in 2017.

Bernreuter Research now estimates global PV installations in 2017 at 98 GW and expects the final result to come in between 98 and 100 GW.

As Beijing-based consultant Frank Haugwitz from Asia Europe Clean Energy Advisory (AECEA) reported, the cumulative installed PV capacity in China was 130.25 GW at the end of December 2017, compared to 125.79 GW at the end of November. Hence, new grid connections amounted to only 4.46 GW in December.

The Chinese authorities were obviously successful in preventing a year-end rally by announcing the reduced 2018 PV feed-in tariffs as late as December 22. Consequently, installers had only one week left to finish projects if they wanted to catch the higher 2017 tariff for distributed-generation PV systems, which do not enjoy a grace period through June 2018, in contrast to large PV power stations.

AECEA projects new Chinese PV installations of 40 to 45 GW in each year from 2018 through 2020. We regard this forecast as far too low.

Update on January 26:

In a press conference on January 24, the National Energy Administration announced slightly different results: New PV installations were 53.06 GW in 2017; 33.62 GW were utility scale, 19.44 GW distributed generation.

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