China’s Demand for Utility-Scale Solar Projects to Reach 60-75 GW in 2021_ AECEA

China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) has released a draft version of its envisaged national unified renewable energy power consumption targets for the upcoming decade.

According to the draft, non-hydro power consumption share must reach 25.9% of overall power consumption by 2030. The target for 2021 is 12.7%, a year-on-year increase of around 1.47%.

To achieve this target, the country requires cumulative installed wind and power generation capacities of 1,600-1,700 GW by 2030, 400-500 GW higher than President Xi Jinping’s announcement of 1,200 GW in December 2020, according to the Asia Europe Clean Energy Advisory (AECEA).

Utility-Scale Solar

AECEA, a China-based clean energy advisory company, anticipates that demands for utility-scale solar projects will reach 60-75 GW capacity in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 25%-55%. The demand will be driven by a strong utility-scale pipeline, including 55 GW of projects approved in 2019-20 and 8 GW of bidding converted parity projects with a deadline of December 2021. NEA will auction two integrated GW facilities with 1-2 GW capacity each in the upcoming weeks.

China installed 32.7 GW of utility-scale solar capacity in 2020.

The new utility-scale project development will include combining different renewable technologies and will be executed as agri-solar projects, fish farm-solar, and floating solar. The projects will be equipped with energy storage devices to support grid operations or on-site production of green hydrogen.

Distributed Solar

The government is inclined to support residential solar installations with an annual budget of up to 200 million Chinese Yuan (~$30.90 million) – 300 million Chinese Yuan (~$46.36 million). If approved, this budget can support 10-14 GW of residential solar installations.

China installed 10.1 GW of residential rooftop solar capacity in 2020.

The agency said the state council’s announcements to enhance efforts to re-energize rural and urban-rural areas, focusing on the deployment of distributed power generation capacities, would create more demands for residential solar in the country.

Several Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Xian have also issued policies to support distributed solar power installations in late 2020. These cities offer a feed-in-tariff for between 2-5 years, except Beijing, which provides subsidies between 30 and 50% of total investment.

AECEA said two-thirds of all Chinese provinces have made it mandatory that all solar installations must be equipped with an on-site energy storage capacity of 10-20% of power generation capacity and for up to two hours.

Commercial & Industrial

China installed 5.4 GW of commercial & industrial (C&I) solar capacity in 2020, accounting for 11% of total installations, despite offering feed-in-tariffs for over a decade. To enhance C&I solar installations, Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of northern China, designed a three-year action plan that supports C&I projects of up to 6 MW.

Mercom had earlier reported that the world’s largest and growing energy market, China, announced its ambition to transform into a  carbon-neutral economy by 2060.