Following the surprise removal of a grace period for PV rooftop projects last month, China reportedly saw over 500 MW of DG solar grid connected on December 29, after developers worked to secure 2017 FIT rates. Overall, EnergyTrend estimates DG capacity to be over 19 GW in 2017.
In announcing the new solar PV feed-in tariff (FIT) rates on December 22 – which saw cuts of up to 15% – China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) removed the six month grace period for rooftop PV projects that are not part of any specific program.
Caught by surprise, EnergyTrend reports that developers, including Astronergy Solar Inc. and GCL New Energy Holdings Ltd, were left scrambling to complete and grid connect “hundreds” of projects before the January 1, 2018 deadline, after which the new, lower FIT rates apply.
“According to a preliminary and incomplete estimate” over 500 MW worth of PV systems were grid connected on December 29. Another 100 MW worth of projects reportedly failed to meet the deadline, while the future of 300 MW of projects, which were replying on the six month grace period, is now uncertain.
The National Energy Administration (NEA) reported this week that China installed around 48.4 GW of solar PV between January and November, of which DG represented 17.2 GW.
EnergyTrend estimates that following the installation flurry overall DG installs in 2017 are forecast to be higher than 19 GW.
Commenting on China’s huge 2017 solar PV installation rate in November, which led analysts to adjust their forecasts, Yvonne Liu, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) analyst in Beijing, told pv magazine,“The main factors driving the estimates boost were rooftop solar PV uptake, which so far this year already reached around 15 GW, as well as the number of projects built before they have secured quota, the qualification to receive national subsidy, which at this point amount to at least 7 GW. These were the two biggest surprises.”