China’s PV additions were 53 GW in 2021

The total capacity of new photovoltaic systems installed in China in 2021 was about 53 gigawatts. This is reported by several media with reference to the National Energy Administration (NEA). This means that new installations have reached another record high; the previous peak was just under 52.8 GW in 2017. For the ninth year in a row, China is the country with the highest additions worldwide. The cumulative grid-connected PV capacity now amounts to 306 GW, which corresponds to around 0.22 kW per inhabitant.
Compared to 2020 (48.2 GW), new installations have increased by ten percent, and PV accounted for a good third of the total 107.5 GW of new renewable energy capacity added this year. Nevertheless, the addition of new capacity fell short of many forecasts. The Chinese Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA), for example, had expected 55 to 65 GW, but later reduced this to 45 to 55 GW due to increased raw material costs and delivery delays.
For the first time, more than half of the new PV capacity – 29 GW, just under 55 percent – was accounted for the »distributed solar« segment. Of this, 21.5 GW were in the »residential solar« category, i.e., systems on residential buildings.
Since many projects actually planned for 2021 were postponed until 2022 due to increased costs and delivery difficulties, this could have an upward impact on this year’s additions. On the other hand, an end to existing government subsidies is expected. The CPIA nevertheless expects a significant increase to around 75 GW of newly installed capacity.

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