AECEA: China could reach 230 GW of solar by 2020

China’s National Energy Agency (NEA) has published a roadmap for the expansion of renewables in the period 2017-2020. The expansion targets for PV are between 21.1 GW and 22.4 GW per year, according to Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory Co. Ltd. (AECEA). This annual quota includes 8 GW per year, which would be realized in the frame of the “Top Runner” program. NEA has also published installation targets for each province by 2020. These, however, do not include small-sized PV systems and relate only to solar parks.

The new targets do not entail restrictions for individual municipalities and autonomous regions, and these also include regions with no connection to the national electricity network. A total of about 86.5 GW is included in the 2017-2020 plan, according to AECEA. The country could thus come to a cumulative installed PV power of about 190 GW to 200 GW.

The target of 60 GW for smaller photovoltaic systems by 2020, however, is not expected to be reached. So far, there are approximately 15 GW of “distributed” photovoltaic systems. According to AECEA, by 2020 about 40 GW to 45 GW could be achieved in this segment. The total installed photovoltaic power would then rise to 230 gigawatts.

It is surprising that China has officially not yet increased its official expansion target for 2020 of 105 gigawatts. Nevertheless, AECEA assumes that the government will stimulate PV expansion beyond this threshold in the coming years, especially with regard to the new international trade disputes. However, there are also some challenges in the country by 2020. These are represented for the upcoming years by the increase in FIT payments, grid problems and the transition to an auction system.