China may raise 2020 solar target to more than 200 GW

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The total installed capacity of operational PV systems in China topped 165 GW at the end of September, according to a recent report from PV Info Link. That means the 2020 target of 105 GW originally conceived in the 13th five-year plan, has already been exceeded by more than 50%.

According to PV Info Link analysts, China’s National Energy Agency NEA is now planning to revise up the 2020 target for solar energy deployment to at least 210 GW. The analysts claim the target may even be raised to between 250 GW and 270 GW, to support the Chinese solar module industry.

The country’s energy institutes have been tasked to carry out an assessment of the effects of a planned adjustment of the target.

If it is raised to only 210 GW, PV Info Link analysts say there would be room for only 20-25 GW of additional PV capacity per year from next year to 2020, which would not give much of a lift to local demand. An increase of at least 250 GW, however, would mean the deployment of more than 40 GW of solar annually.

China’s PV industry association, the CPIA, reported last week on a slowdown of demand in China, as a consequence of policy changes introduced by the government in late May.

According to the CPIA, newly installed PV capacity of around 40 GW is expected to be grid-connected in China this year. That would mean China remaining the world’s largest solar market, albeit with deployment 25% lower than that seen in 2017. The association believes around 50% of the new capacity will come from large-scale solar plants, with the remaining share expected from smaller, decentralized systems.