China’s year of plummeting solar growth has ended on a slightly more upbeat note, with analysts claiming a rush of installations in December may herald a better-than-expected 2020.
New stats from the country’s National Energy Administration (NEA) show PV capacity stood at a cumulative 204.68GW nation-wide by the end of 2019, a 17.4% jump on the figures recorded at the same point one year prior.
Examining the numbers released by the NEA over the weekend, consultancy Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory Co (AECEA) estimated China installed 30.22GW of PV over 2019, a full 31.7% slump from the 44.26GW it had added throughout 2018.
Despite the 2018-to-2019 drop, the 30.22GW of PV installed in China last year is “far better” than AECEA itself had anticipated, as the firm noted. Only two weeks back, the consultancy’s predictions for the country remained in the 20GW to 24GW region.
In an email circulated today, AECEA director Frank Haugwitz tentatively linked the higher-than-expected 2019 figure to a strong year-end. If China did indeed install 30.22GW 2019-wide, this could mean more PV was added in December alone (12GW) than in H1 2019 (11.4GW), Haugwitz said.
“A year-end rally is nothing unusual, as well not in China. However, up to 12GW in one single month still beats all estimates,” the director said, hypothesising whether the December surge may have been caused by long-approved projects finally going ahead to tap into more competitive prices.
“Given such tailwind, AECEA is currently revising its 2020 estimate,” Haugwitz went on to say. “Early indications suggest that during 2020 the Chinese PV market shall experience a rebounding, possibly in the order of 15-25% YoY.”