In 2016, China's installed capacity of solar photovoltaic power increased by 34.54 gigawatts (GW), which was much more than the original expectation of between 20 and 25 GW. At the end of the year, China's accumulative installed capacity of photovoltaic power was 77.42 GW.

The accumulative installed capacity of centralized photovoltaic power stations reached 67.1 GW, and that of distributed photovoltaic power reached 10.32 GW. The accumulative output of electricity generated from photovoltaic power reached 66.2 billion kilowatt-hours, accounting for just 1% of the total social power consumption in China, according to the National Energy Administration.

The growth in newly added solar photovoltaic plants is gradually shifting from the northwest region of China to the central and eastern regions. Among the newly added capacity in 2016, the northwest region reached 9.74 GW, accounting for 28% of the total, and the capacity in the other regions reached 24.8 GW, accounting for 72% of the total. There were nine provinces in central and eastern China with newly added capacity surpassing 1 GW, namely Shandong (3.22 GW); Henan (2.44 GW); Anhui (2.25 GW); Hebei (2.03 GW); Jiangxi (1.85 GW); Shanxi (1.83 GW); Zhejiang (1.75 GW); Hubei (1.38 GW); and Jiangsu (1.23 GW).

The growth of distributed photovoltaic power was largely accelerated. In 2016, the newly added capacity of distributed photovoltaic power reached 4.24 GW, a growth of 200% over the newly added capacity in 2015. The growth in the central and eastern regions was much improved, including growth in Zhejiang (0.86 GW); Shandong (0.75GW); Jiangsu (0.53 GW); Anhui (0.46GW); and Jiangxi (0.31GW).

For the accumulative installed capacity of photovoltaic power, there are six provinces with total capacity over 5 GW, and all of them are located the northwest region: Xinjiang (8.62 GW); Gansu (6.86 GW); Qinghai (6.86 GW), Inner Mongolia (6.37 GW); Jiangsu (5.46 GW); and Ningxia (5.26).

The rapid growth in 2016 was mainly stimulated by new policies, including a higher annual quota and the principle of "first built, first used," rather than allocating quotas prior to construction. In addition, the price of construction was down.

Looking to 2017, the growth will certainly be lowered as the objective of total installed capacity set in the national 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) for photovoltaic power by 2020 is only 105 GW. However, the total capacity is expected to be increased by about 28 GW, as there is still about 18 GW of projects that are to be commissioned by June 30, 2017.

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