South Korea installed 4.4 GW of PV capacity in 2021


South Korea deployed around 4.4 GW of new PV systems in 2021, according to new statistics from the Korea Energy Agency (KEA).

The annual additions for 2021 are slightly higher than the 4.1 GW deployed a year earlier. In 2019 and 2018, new additions reached 3.8 GW and 2.4 GW, respectively.

“Despite the upward trend in South Korea’s solar capacity, the country's clean energy transition is still hampered by land and maritime policies, which overregulate where solar and wind power can be built,” Eunbyeol Jo, a researcher at Seoul-based NGO Solutions for Our Climate, told pv magazine. “In addition, up to 64% of the solar PV capacity that requested to enter the grid sat idle during the first half of 2021 due to the lack of distribution networks in the country.”

He said state-owned utility Kepco, the sole distribution company in South Korea, must focus on expanding grid infrastructure to ramp up the deployment of renewables. By the end of December, the country's cumulative installed PV capacity stood at roughly 22 GW.

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South Korea is currently supporting rooftop and large-scale PV systems through tenders. In the latest two procurement exercises held in 2021, the authorities allocated a total of 4.2 GW of PV capacity. In two tenders held in 2020, the KEA allocated 1.2 GW and 1.41 GW. In 2019, it contracted 350 MW and 500 MW. In 2017 and 2018, the total allocated capacity was 600 MW for each year.

South Korea currently plans to install 30.8 GW of solar by 2030.

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