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China's Solar Market Beat All Expectations For 2013

China and Solar Growth
 
Despite predictions all through 2013 suggesting that Japan would walk away the dominant solar PV market, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has revealed that China “outstripped even the most optimistic forecasts” to install a record 12 GW of photovoltaic projects in 2013.

In fact, a massive boom at the end of the year could even have pushed the nation’s market up to 14 GW, a phenomenal feat considering that no country has ever added more than 8 GW in a year.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) had predicted that Japan would come out on top in 2013, ahead of China and then the US, but with a feed-in tariff for large PV projects ending on the first of 2014, the year-end rush will not be wholly understood until March.

“The 2013 figures show the astonishing scale of the Chinese market, now the sleeping dragon has awoken” said Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “PV is becoming ever cheaper and simpler to install, and China’s government has been as surprised as European governments by how quickly it can be deployed in response to incentives.”

Even China’s state news agency could not have predicted the massive boom which took place. And in July it was announced that China aimed to add 10 GW of solar power a year for the next three years — a target they seem to have hit rather easily.

Surprisingly, many market analysis companies scoffed at China’s targets for 2014. IHS and Mercom Capital both released reports earlier this year suggesting that China would struggle to reach their aim of 12 GW for 2014, but with 2013′s impressive stats, one wonders whether analysts will be revising their predictions in the next few weeks, especially in the wake of new estimations suggesting that China is aiming for 14 GW in 2014.

With the majority of solar projects located on the country’s sunny and empty western provinces, China’s state-owned power generators China Power Investment Corporation, China Three Gorges and China Huadian Corporation have become the world’s largest owners of solar assets.

China’s Solar Market Beat All Expectations For 2013 was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 other subscribers: RSS | Facebook | Twitter.

Photo Credit: China Solar Market Growth/shutterstock

Joshua Hill's picture

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Schalk Cloete's picture
Schalk Cloete on Feb 1, 2014 10:12 am GMT

It will be interesting to see how China addresses the challenge of the vast distances between regions of high solar insolation and population centres over the next few years. HVDC is expensive and, if it only carries max 20% CF solar power, it will be even more expensive than usual.

China can essentially choose between cost-effective utlity scale plants in excellent solar regions coupled with very expensive transmission or expensve DG in areas with solar resources comparable to Southern Germany with negligible transmission costs. 

This issue will probably limit the “astonishing scale of the Chinese market” (i.e. about 0.2% of electricity consumption) sooner rather than later. 

Bill Woods's picture
Bill Woods on Feb 2, 2014 5:04 pm GMT

With luck, the Chinese will be able to increase panel exports, so they won’t have to eat so much of their surplus production.

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