Monster Growth Rates in Chinese Solar Market

Danny Kennedy just pointed to an article at Chinadaily with some impressive numbers.

In terms of produced electricity, China has grown 540% from last year.

And in terms of capacity, 2.71 GW of capacity added in the first nine months of this year are already a 4.2 fold increase on last year.

All those solar panels produced in China have to go somewhere. There is a large overcapacity in the industry. And with prices way down (thanks, Germany), a larger share of these solar panels are going to stay right where they are made, and displace some coal electricity.

The article also mentioned that the Chinese grid operators now are offering to bear the cost of grid connection for distributed solar projects that are close to costumers.

And their long term idea is to have solar sold just as any other electrical appliance. Just buy your capacity and plug it in at home. Pulling that off would be a major boost to sales. Even Germany, the world champion of solar, has not reached that stage yet.

Update: As commentator “Outbound” kindly points out, the numbers in the Chinadaily article don’t make much sense. For 2.71 GW to be a 4.2 increase, last year’s installations would need to be only about 0.65 GW. In reality, they were already at 2 GW last year.

Thanks for catching this error.


Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

2 thoughts on “Monster Growth Rates in Chinese Solar Market

  1. There`s something wrong with the statistics being quoted in the article. Installations in China were around 2 GW in 2011 and 2.71 GW is not 4.2 times this amount. I`d like to think maybe this 2.71 GW is for an individual province. If that`s the case then the numbers could make sense. We`ll see.


    1. Thanks for pointing this out. I wrote an update to the post discussing this.

      4.2 times 2 GW would give a rather impressing 8.4 GW for 2012, pushing China right at the top of the World. That would be even more welcome news.


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