China to exceed 2015 PV target thanks to small-scale solar

Uncapped growth in China’s small-scale distributed solar market could see help the country exceed its 2015 PV target of nearly 17.8GW, according to Trina Solar – the world’s number one producer of solar modules.

The CFO of the Chinese solar giant made the comment in an interview with Deutsche Bank analysts last week, the CFO of Trina, noting that there was no limit to rooftop solar projects, so actual installs could exceed targets.

This followed confirmation, on Monday, from Beijing’s National Energy Administration that China had already connected a total of 5.04GW of solar capacity in the first quarter of 2015 – an amount the Australian government has said would be impossible to install in five years – bringing China’s cumulative total to 33GW.

The NEA said utility-scale projects accounted for 4.38GW of China’s Q1 installations, and 1.1GW of capacity was installed in northwestern Xinjiang province. 

The fact China isn’t setting specific 2015 targets for utility and distributed installations – which it did in 2014 – has widely been expected to make the full-year target easier to hit.

The bullish comments from Trina follow up on similar predictions from fellow Chinese solar giant, Yingli Green Energy.

The CEO of Yingli told analysts last month that China’s solar target of 100GW installed by 2020 could be viewed as a minimum, due to the number of factors currently driving demand in the developing country.

The comments were made in a conference call with analysts, after Yingli – now ranked as the world’s second-largest solar panel producer, behind compatriot Trina Solar – reported its 14th consecutive quarterly loss.

Yingli chairman and CEO Liansheng Miao said that China’s continued demand for new energy capacity, its ongoing battle against air pollution and energy poverty, and its focus on economic development, meant the 100GW solar target set in Beijing’s last Five-Year Plan “could be treated as the bottom.”

Trina, meanwhile, told Deutcshe Bank that Chinese solar projects were receiving timely electricity payments, but FiT payments were still facing a 6-12 month backlog, and would be paid quarterly.

The CFO said the government had specifically focused on understanding these issues and finding ways to address them recently.

© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson