China's Solar Surge Slows: Grid Struggles to Keep Up

Apr 22, 2024 12:57 PM ET
  • China's solar growth hits a speed bump in Q1, but expected to bounce back with 220GW this year. Grid challenges hinder rooftop installations, but government aims to boost infrastructure for decarbonization goals.

China's rapid growth in solar installations has slowed down in the first quarter of this year, with only 45.7 gigawatts of photovoltaic panels being installed. This is a significant decrease compared to the 154% surge seen in the same quarter of 2023. The country, which added a record 217 gigawatts of solar panels last year, is expected to install as much as 220 gigawatts this year, driven mainly by utility-scale projects in the country's interior deserts.

The slowdown in solar growth is attributed to grid challenges, as the infrastructure struggles to transmit clean power from less-populated inland areas to consumption centers. Rooftop solar installations in urban areas are also facing grid issues, leading to a decrease in the utilization of solar power. The government is working to bolster grids and meet its decarbonization goals by enabling the grid to connect 500 gigawatts of small-scale renewables by 2025 and building more high-voltage long-distance power lines.

What factors are contributing to China's slowdown in solar installations?

Factors contributing to China's slowdown in solar installations:

  1. Grid challenges: The country's infrastructure is struggling to transmit clean power from less-populated inland areas to consumption centers, leading to a decrease in the utilization of solar power.
  2. Rooftop solar grid issues: Urban areas are facing challenges with grid connections for rooftop solar installations, further hindering the growth of solar energy in China.
  3. Government initiatives: To address grid challenges and meet decarbonization goals, the government is working on enabling the grid to connect 500 gigawatts of small-scale renewables by 2025 and building more high-voltage long-distance power lines.
  4. Policy changes: Changes in government policies and regulations may also be impacting the pace of solar installations in China, leading to a slowdown in growth compared to previous years.
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Source:
bloomberg.com

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