China reaches a tipping point in 2021

This year will be a key period in the development of China’s solar PV market. It is the first year of the 14th five-year plan, the first calendar year after President Xi Jinping announced the 2030-60 carbon emissions commitment, and the first year for utility and commercial unsubsidized projects. IHS Markit expects the solar industry in China to reach another milestone with more than 60 GW of installations this year, advancing the ground for the energy transition and the displacement of traditional energy sources to fulfill the goal of a net carbon future over the next four decades to come.

The strong outlook for solar PV installations in China is a reflection of the development of the industry over the last decade, and it’s forecast to continue after the publication of the new carbon target.

China dominated global solar PV installations in the period between 2011 and 2020. With 48.2 GW of additional solar capacity added in 2020, the country’s National Energy Administration (NEA) announced 253 GW of cumulative solar connections during the period, with roughly 70% of those connections deriving from utility-scale projects, driven by feed-in-tariffs.

Demand grew significantly during the 13th five-year plan period (2016-20), with 210 GW (AC) of solar connections – a five-time increase from the 12th five-year plan period (2011-15). Over the next five years, IHS Markit expects mainland China to continue to be the largest solar market globally in installation terms.

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