China is still expected to add up to 65 GigaWatts (GW) of solar power capacity in 2021, its solar manufacturing association said on Thursday, taking total solar installations beyond 300 GW by the end of the year.
Solar power installation reached only about 13 GW in the first six months, as a supply constraint on photovoltaic raw material and soaring product prices slowed the development of new solar projects.
“(The progress of) utility-scale solar projects in the coming months will depend on price movements alongside the solar supply chain,” Wang Bohua, honorary president of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA), said at an industrial conference.
The price of polysilicon, a key raw material for making solar cells, was three-and-a-half times higher in June than at the end of last year.
However, Wang expected a boom in distributed solar projects and residential installations in the second half of the year, driven by government policies aimed boosting renewable consumption.
He forecast 55 GW-65 GW of new capacity this year and said average new solar capacity installation was expected at about 70 GW-90 GW a year over 2021-2025.
China in May ordered power transmission firms to connect a minimum of 90 GW of wind and solar capacity to the grid this year. It wants power generation from solar and wind plants to account for about 11% of total power consumption in 2021, from 9.7% in 2020.
China has the world’s largest solar power capacity, with 253 GW of installed capacity at the end-2020 compared with about 151 GW in the European Union, according to International Energy Agency data.
The CPIA also forecast China’s exports of solar modules to increase in 2021, following the growth of global solar power capacity. But it warned that trade and political disputes could impede sales.
The United States in late June banned imports from five Chinese solar companies accused of using forced labour in Xinjiang.
China’s solar module exports were 36.9 GW in the first five months, up 35.1% from a year earlier, data from the CPIA showed, and the exports may have reached 44-46 GW by end June, preliminary data showed.
Originally published at Reuters