February 19 (Renewables Now) - The Chinese solar power industry had a record year in 2017 when it saw the deployment of 53.06 GW of photovoltaic (PV) capacity.
The capacity additions were 54% higher than in 2016, show statistics from Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory Co Ltd (AECEA). In the previous year, some 34.54 GW of new solar parks were put on stream in the Asian country.
Solar also sliced the highest share of the total 133 GW of new power generation capacity installed in China last year, surpassing thermal electric power for the first time in a year. Fresh thermal power installations were 45.78 GW.
About 19.44 GW of the newly-installed solar power plants came from the distributed solar segment, which was responsible for around 37% of all solar capacity additions.
At the end of 2017, China’s cumulative installed solar capacity amounted to 130.25 GW, with solar PV accounting for 7.2% of the country’s total power generation capacity. According to AECEA, the total for solar could reach about 250 GW by end-2020 in view of the fact that China already exceeded by 24% its goal for 2020 of having 105 GW of PV parks.
Nevertheless, the consultancy noted that 2018 could turn to be a challenging year for the Chinese market as it could be affected by various global events such as the imposition of solar import tariffs in the US, the pending safeguard duties in India and effects of the Chinese market dynamics. If those external factors are not taken into account, the Asian country is poised for another record year and will keep its leadership position, AECEA added.