China installs 7.14 GW of solar PV in Q1 2016

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China National Energy Administration (NEA) on Friday released official PV industry statistics for the first quarter of the year.

New PV installations amounted to 7.14 GW, including 6.17GW from ground-mounted PV plants and 970 MW from distributed PV power. Total cumulated installation capacity reached 50.31GW, including 43.29 GW and 7.03 GW for ground-mounted and distributed PV, respectively.

Grid curtailment remains increasingly serious in the country. Total power generation by PV for Q1 was about 11.8 billion kWh, while grid curtailment was around 1.9 billion kWh. This means the overall grid curtailment rate was about 13.87% for Q1. The rate for Q1 to Q3 of 2015 was about 10%.

Xinjiang, Gansu and Ningxia are the three provinces with the highest curtailment rate — 52%, 39% and 20%, respectively. The NEA ordered the provinces in March to temporarily suspend all new renewable energy projects due to the curtailment issue until the problem is resolved.

NEA data also showed increasing differences in regional PV development, with more and more PV projects completed in east, middle and south of the country.

Total new installations in these areas exceeded that of northern, northwestern and northeastern China for the first time. This may be due to the impact of the grid curtailment problem on the return of investment of PV projects.