China brought online 16 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the first nine months of 2019, down 45% from a year earlier, shows data by China’s National Energy Administration.
The newly-commission capacity compares with 44 GW of fresh solar deployed in January-September 2018. The year-on-year drop, according to the director of Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory Co Ltd, Frank Haugwitz, stems from the belated releases and decisions of policies and approved capacities, the adoption of new approaches such as a national unified bidding system and obstacles in meeting the relatively long lead times to develop a new project, among others.
New solar PV capacity in the third quarter alone stood at 4.59 GW, against almost 10 GW a year back.
Distributed solar power plants accounted for more than half of the fresh capacity in the first nine months of this year, totalling 8.26 GW. Some 7.73 GW, meanwhile, came from ground-mounted utility-scale projects. By region, around 5 GW of the fresh capacity brought online in January-September, was added in the north of China, some 4.3 GW was put on stream in the northwest region, while eastern China commissioned 3.3 GW.
China is transitioning from a subsidy-driven solar market to a fully subsidy-free era, starting January 1, 2021. Its cumulative installed solar capacity at the end of September amounted to 190 GW, with AECEA expecting up to 5 GW more to be switched on through October 2019.
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