China's Rooftop Solar Boom Faces Grid Capacity Challenges

Jan 10, 2024 12:41 PM ET
  • China's rooftop solar boom faces challenges as grid capacity runs out in multiple regions, highlighting the need for stronger grids and more energy storage. Stricter regulations and calls for policy changes are pushing for sustainable renewable energy adoption.

China is facing challenges in sustaining its rooftop solar boom as multiple regions run out of grid capacity for additional projects. Three cities and counties in Hubei and Fujian provinces have announced that their local power infrastructure cannot currently absorb more distributed solar generation. This adds to about 150 locations nationwide that have also reached their limit. The hurdles highlight the need for China to strengthen regional grids and build out more energy storage to sustain the country's breakneck pace of renewable energy adoption. China's network of distributed solar assets is larger than the entire solar fleet in the US.

Some regions in China have implemented stricter regulations on rooftop solar in recent months, making it extremely difficult for developers to launch new projects in affected areas. China established pilot projects last year to test technologies that can increase the grid's capacity to absorb more power from rooftop solar projects. Additionally, solar industry executives are urging changes to power market policies to promote the development of energy storage projects. Falling battery prices are expected to make renewable generation assets paired with energy storage cost-competitive with coal-fired power by 2025.

What challenges does China face in sustaining its rooftop solar boom?

  • Limited grid capacity in multiple regions is a major challenge for sustaining China's rooftop solar boom.
  • Three cities and counties in Hubei and Fujian provinces, along with about 150 locations nationwide, have reached their limit in terms of local power infrastructure's ability to absorb more distributed solar generation.
  • Stricter regulations on rooftop solar in some regions have made it difficult for developers to launch new projects.
  • Pilot projects have been established to test technologies that can increase the grid's capacity to absorb more power from rooftop solar projects.
  • Solar industry executives are calling for changes to power market policies to promote the development of energy storage projects.
  • Falling battery prices are expected to make renewable generation assets paired with energy storage cost-competitive with coal-fired power by 2025.
  • Strengthening regional grids and building out more energy storage infrastructure are necessary to sustain China's rapid pace of renewable energy adoption.
  • China's network of distributed solar assets is larger than the entire solar fleet in the US, highlighting the scale of the challenge in managing and integrating these resources into the grid.
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Source:
bloomberg.com

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