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China installed 52.6 GW of new solar capacity in the first nine months (9M) of 2022, according to the latest data released by the National Energy Administration (NEA). Installations were up 106% year-over-year (YoY) compared to 25.56 GW installed during the same period last year.
Cumulative solar installations in China have now reached 361 GW.
In the third quarter (Q3) of 2022, China installed 21.72 GW of new solar capacity, a 73% growth compared to 12.54 GW in Q3 2021. The numbers marked an increase of 23% compared to 17.67 GW during Q2 2022.
Investments in the solar sector increased 352.6% YoY and stood at 138.2 billion yuan (~$19.16 billion) at the end of September, according to NEA. The investments in power grid projects was 315.4 billion yuan (~$43.72 billion), a YoY increase of 9.1%.
During 9M 2022, the cumulative average power utilization reached 2,799 hours, down by 87 hours during the same period last year. Out of the total, thermal power accounted for 3,295 hours, a decrease of 49 hours compared to last year. For wind, it was 1,616 hours, a decrease of 24 hours during the same period last year, and for solar, it was 1,063 hours.
In the first nine months, solar module shipments by the top ten manufacturers reached 140-150 GW. According to China’s PV Industry Association, the export of solar modules generated around $35 billion, up by 110% YoY.
According to the latest Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory report, wafer, cell, and module production capacities are predicted to touch 550-600 GW by the end of 2022. Solar could become the second largest source of power generation by mid-2023 surpassing hydropower which now accounts for 403 GW.
NEA had announced that out of the 121 GW of solar projects under construction, nearly 108 GW of new solar capacity would be connected to the grid by 2022.