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China’s Solar Industry Surges: Q1 Report Reveals Record Growth

China‘s solar industry has experienced a surge in growth during the first quarter of 2021, according to the latest report from the National Energy Administration (NEA).

State grid employees check solar power panels in Tibet.

The report shows that China’s total installed capacity of power generation reached approximately 2,620 GW by the end of March, an increase of 9.1% compared to the same period last year. Of this, solar power accounted for around 430 GW, demonstrating a year-on-year rise of 33.7%.

Notably, the newly added installed capacity for solar power was reported to have reached 33.66 GW from January to March, marking a staggering year-on-year increase of 154.8% and adding 20.45 GW more than last year.

This substantial growth in newly added solar capacity also means that photovoltaic power now accounts for 57% of the country’s total newly added installed capacity of electricity, surpassing all other power sources combined.

The NEA’s report further highlighted that major power generation companies invested CNY 52.2 billion (USD 8.0 billion) in solar power during the first quarter of 2021, marking a significant year-on-year increase of 177.6%.

Nuclear power investment also saw a year-on-year increase of 53.5%, with investment in grid construction reaching CNY 66.8 billion (USD 10.3 billion), a 7.5% year-on-year increase.

These figures highlight the continued rapid development of China’s electricity industry, and the increasing importance of solar power in the country’s energy landscape.

While the report notes a decrease in average utilization hours of power generation equipment compared to last year, the increase in installed solar capacity and investment reflects China’s growing commitment to clean energy and its potential as a leading player in the global renewable energy market.

The surge in China’s solar industry comes as part of the country’s broader push towards carbon neutrality, with goals set to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

The NEA’s report demonstrates that China is on track to meet these targets, with a continued focus on clean energy development, particularly in solar power.

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