Amid COVID-19, China Installs Nearly 4 GW of Solar in Q1 2020

According to the new energy statistics and the data released by the National Energy Administration (NEA), nearly 3.95 GW of solar capacity was installed nationwide in China during the first quarter of (Q1) of 2020.

Out of the 3.95 GW, 2.23 GW was added through the large-scale solar PV installations, while distributed solar PV made up 1.72 GW. At the end of March, total cumulative installed solar capacity in the country stood at 208 GW, out of which 144 GW was through large-scale solar, and 64 GW came from distributed solar installations.

In a previous report, NEA had said that China had installed nearly 204 GW of installed solar generation capacity at the end of 2019. As per the government statistics, China installed a total, the capacity of 30.1 GW in the calendar year 2019.

North and South China had more installations as compared to other parts of the country.


As per the new numbers, in Q1, solar PV power generation amounted to 52.8 billion kWh, an increase of nearly 20% year-on-year (YoY), and the national utilization hours were 248 hours, an increase of eight hours YoY. The northeastern region recorded the highest number of utilization hours of solar, reaching 350 hours, which was down by nine hours when compared to the same period last year. Among the provinces, Guangdong province recorded the highest number of installations with 600 MW of new installations in Q1 2020. Similarly, Inner Mongolia recorded 470 MW of new installations, and Zhejiang province installed 360 MW of new solar projects.

The 3.95 GW of new installations for Q1 2020 was a 24% decline compared to 5.2 GW installed during the same period last year.

China Solar Quarterly Installations (GW)

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the main reasons for the decline in installations in the first quarter of 2020. Things came to a grinding halt, impacted the renewable industry to a great extent in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the whole value chain and has led to significant losses for the solar industry.

Earlier, the top three solar markets in the world-China, the U.S., and India added nearly 51 GW of solar capacity in 2019. China led the way with 30.1 GW, followed by the U.S. at 13.3 GW, and India maintained its third position with installations totaling 7.3 GW for the year 2019.

Previously, it was reported that NEA had announced that it plans to provide subsidies of RMB 1.5 billion (~$216.1 million) for new solar power projects in the country this year, according to its ‘construction plan for photovoltaic power generation projects in 2020.’

Image credit: Greenskies