South Korea deployed 1 GW of solar in Q1 2021


South Korea saw the deployment of 1,017 MW of new PV systems in the first three months of the year, according to new statistics released by the Korean Energy Agency.

“Solar PV installed capacity has been increasing by 1 GW per quarter since 2020 until now, so this growth is not that remarkable — and it's still insufficient to achieve the Korean government's goal of 20% renewable generation by 2030,” Kyungrak Kwon, renewables program director at Seoul-based NGO Solutions for Our Climate, told pv magazine.

According to a recent study by Solutions for Our Climate and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the target to reach 20% renewables from total generation by 2030 must be raised to 40%, and installed renewables capacity needs to increase sevenfold by that year. “What's more, the issue of delayed solar PV connections to the grid has yet to be resolved, thus, preventing the timely, sufficient addition of solar PV supply,” Kwon further explained.

If the growth trend of the first quarter is confirmed for the rest of the year, South Korea may reach or exceed last year's newly installed PV capacity of 4,126 MW, a result that was not only comparatively higher than the 3.8 GW in 2019 and 2.4 GW in 2018, but also made 2020 the most successful year ever recorded by the country.

At the end of March, the country's cumulative installed PV capacity reached around 15.5 GW.

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South Korea currently plans to install 30.8 GW of solar by 2030. This ambitious target is expected to be achieved by building giant solar parks such as a 2.1 GW floating solar project and a 3 GW ground-mounted PV array that was announced for the Saemangeum area by South Korean president Moon Jae-in in November 2018.

More recently, the South Korean government announced a plan to add another 2.1 GW of floating PV by 2030. Furthermore, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) is planning to allocate around 4 GW of solar capacity this year across two PV tenders, one of which was launched in late April.


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