The National Energy Administration of China announced on Tuesday that the country installed an impressive number of solar photovoltaics, specifically 9.65 GW in the first quarter of 2018, 22% more than in the same period of the previous year and above the analyst projections.
At a press conference on Tuesday, the China National Energy Administration (NEA) released new data revealing the country’s solar PV performance in the first quarter. The data comes to us courtesy of the Beijing-based Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory, (AECEA), which covers the Chinese solar industry more than many non-Chinese analysts are capable of.
Specifically, China installed a total of 9.65 GW of new photovoltaic solar power in the first quarter, made up of 1.97 GW of industrial-scale solar power and 7.68 GW of distributed solar power. This represents a 22% increase over the same quarter last year, however this is not the whole story.
Frank Haugwitz, Director of the AECEA, explained that the utility segment in China actually declined 64% in the first quarter, compared to the previous year, while the country’s distributed solar segment increased a surprising 217% .
AECEA also hinted at the fact that power grid downsizing problems, which have plagued the Chinese solar industry for several years, are starting to improve, especially in regions like Xinjiang and Gansu province, where downsizing levels of the electricity grid in 2017 had remained above 20% throughout the year.
It’s a strong start to the year for the Chinese solar industry, which broke all sorts of records in 2017 with the installation of a massive 52.83 GW solar capacity after a year of repeated revisions to analyst expectations. Looking ahead, there is no community agreement on how much solar power China will install in 2018, but AECEA currently expects China to install between 40 GW and 45 GW.